Chandigarh: Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij has withdrawn work from senior IPS officer A.S. Chawla, Additional Director General of Police (Administration and IT), on the grounds that he has not been able to implement the ‘Dial 112’ helpline project for over a year.
Vij arrived at the Haryana police headquarters in Panchkula Thursday for a surprise check, and looked through various files in many different offices.
The senior BJP leader later said apart from Chawla, he had asked for performance reports of certain other officers as well. The various responsibilities held by Chawla have now been handed over to three other officers.
Speaking to journalists outside the police headquarters, Vij said now “all that Chawla will do is come to office, mark his attendance, sit there the whole day and go back. He will not do any work”.
Chawla could not be reached despite repeated attempts call him on his mobile phone. Haryana Home Secretary Vijay Vardhan too didn’t answer multiple calls on his mobile.
Who is Chawla?
Chawla, a 1993 batch IPS officer of the Haryana cadre, was among the 12 police officers and officials from Haryana who were decorated on the eve of the Independence Day this year — he received the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
In August 2017, Chawla was Panchkula’s commissioner of police when violence broke out when a court pronounced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim guilty of rape. Chawla’s teams, along with paramilitary forces, had acted against Dera followers who indulged in arson and violence. As many as 42 Dera followers were killed and property worth crores was damaged in the violence.
Chawla was promoted from IG to ADGP in May 2018.
‘Dial 112’ is a supposed to be a centralised emergency service to receive and monitor distress calls in which police, fire and ambulance services were supposed to be linked to a single number.
It would supplement the police number ‘100’. The Haryana home minister had announced the project last year, but said “neither has Chawla done anything on the project nor has he informed us why the delay has taken place”.
The project had been assigned a separate building in Sector 3, Panchkula. Apart from distress calls, the Dial 112 facility is being developed to receive and monitor distress messages through social media, including WhatsApp and voice recordings.
The system is also geared up to initiate action in real time, ensuring that the police reach any distress spot within 15 minutes of the call.
The ‘real’ reason
Highly placed sources in the Haryana police claimed the real reason why Vij had acted against Chawla could be different from what was being projected.
“The Dial 112 project is a highly modern IT driven venture for which a Kerala-based company under C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) has been hired. Due to Covid-19, there are many restrictions in Kerala which have not been lifted and implementation of the project has been delayed,” said a senior officer on the condition of anonymity.
Vij has come to be labelled controversial and has caused embarrassment to the BJP with his uncharitable remarks on numerous occasions. His impatience with the bureaucracy, too, is well known.
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