Kolkata: The West Bengal government Tuesday appointed Manoj Malaviya, a 1986 batch IPS officer, as the state’s acting Director General of Police (DGP).
The move comes amid an ongoing tussle between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Modi government over the selection of a new DGP.
Manoj is the great-grandson of Madan Mohan Malaviya, who was a scholar, politician and the founder of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. Manoj’s father Giridhar Malaviya, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, was one of the four proposers when Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers from Varanasi during the 2014 general election.
Manoj, who is the seniormost officer on the list of names suggested by the state government to the Centre was earlier DGP, Organization.
However, the process of selecting the officers for the rank of DGP, Bengal Police, developed a stalemate-like situation in July, after the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in a series of letters, pointed out several discrepancies in Bengal government’s proposal, a top state government official said.
The first letter was written to the West Bengal chief secretary by the UPSC secretary on 2 July.
The UPSC, referring to the Bengal government’s letter dated 29 June regarding the “proposal for preparation of panel for selection for appointment to the post of DGP of West Bengal”, said that several discrepancies were found in the proposal letter. These included non-furnishing of relevant documents, biodata of eligible officers, details of disciplinary and criminal proceedings pending against the officers, statement of penalties, integrity certificate signed by the chief secretary, and exclusion of Bengal cadre officers, who are currently on central deputation.
The Bengal government is learnt to have sent at least three lists in the past two months to UPSC. The final list was sent on 23 August, in which the names of 17 eligible officers were given.
Responding to this list, the UPSC wrote a fresh letter to the chief secretary on 26 August and pointed out various discrepancies again.
According to the letter, names of four eligible officers on central deputation — Kuldiep Singh, Sashi Bhushan Singh Tomar, Sanjay Chander and Zulfiquar Hasan — were not included. The UPSC pointed out that the copy of the charge sheet served to an eligible officer was not furnished and penalty statements for some officers are also not attached. The Print has copies of both letters.
Significantly, Manoj Malaviya’s name is also there in the second letter as an officer whose documents were incomplete.
The Print sent a detailed questionnaire to H.K. Dwibedi, state’s chief secretary and B.P. Gopalika, the state’s home secretary through text and WhatsApp messages regarding UPSC’sletter but there was no response till the time of publication of this report.
What the Bengal govt proposed
In the first week of July, the Bengal government offered a senior position or the post of a chairman in certain commissions under the state to three out of the top five contenders for the DGP post, but only if they chose to take voluntary retirement, sources in the government told ThePrint.
A senior IPS officer said the proposal was “highly unusual” and “it seemed that the government wanted three officers out of the race”.
All three of them — P Nirajnayan, Sumanbala Sahoo and Adhir Sharma — are seen as upright officers in the bureaucratic circle. They refused to accept such a proposal as they still have six months to two years of service left, added the official.
Nirajnayan was appointed as the DGP of Bengal police by the Election Commission of India during the 2021 assembly election. Sumanbala Sahoo, the only DGP-rank woman officer in the state, was appointed as the head of SIT — which would probe offences related to political violence — by the Calcutta High Court in August. Sahoo served in the CBI for five years from 2010-2015 before returning to her home cadre five years back. Meanwhile, Sharma is the DG, Railway Police.