CM Neiphiu Rio writes to Rajnath Singh saying Rupin Sharma does not have necessary experience to be DGP; the officer was instrumental in gangster Abu Salem’s extradition.
New Delhi: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has written to the Centre, seeking the ouster of director general of police Rupin Sharma — a super cop who was instrumental in gangster Abu Salem’s extradition to India in 2005 — on the grounds that his “experience of serving the state is very limited”.
In a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh dated 24 March 2018, Rio cited Sharma’s appointment as a “stop gap arrangement” after the deputation of the former DGP L. Doungel, a 1987 West Bengal cadre IPS officer, ended in November last year.
He said that the state lacked senior officers and that Sharma “does not possess the requisite experience” to be posted as a DG since he only served as SP for one year in Peren district.
In another letter (dated 27 March), chief secretary Temjen Toy alleged that Sharma’s inexperience led to “challenges and issues in the conduct of the state assembly elections in February 2018” without going into any specific incidents.
Deputy CM Y. Patton made a similar case to the Centre in yet another letter dated 28 March.
A super cop who nabbed Abu Salem
A 1992 batch IPS officer of the Nagaland cadre, Sharma comes with a rich and diverse experience of working in both the state as well as internationally. A super cop, Sharma was instrumental in gangster Abu Salem’s extradition from Portugal in 2005. A CBI team led by Sharma — he was then serving as an assistant director of the agency — had intercepted an email from Salem in May 2002 and traced his location to Portugal.
Sharma has served on an overseas mission in Kosovo.
Responding to allegations that he lacks sufficient experience in Nagaland, he said, “I have served at each of the position in the hierarchy of Nagaland…starting from SDPO, additional SP, SP, IG, DIG, additional DGP.”
“Anyone they (the Rio government) would want to bring in would not have served in all these positions,” Sharma told ThePrint.
Lungriading, a 1990 batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, whom the Rio government wants as DGP has come on deputation as IG, Sharma said. He was apparently denied the job by the central government last year.
According to a circular issued by the MHA in September last year, an IPS officer can serve for only nine years on inter-state deputation and a second tenure cannot be in the home state.
Sharma is known as an upright officer whose work as DG prisons has earned him much appreciation. There have been numerous posts on various social media platforms pledging support to Sharma since the Rio’s letter was leaked on Twitter Tuesday.
As Nagaland Govt seek the ouster of DGP Nagaland, public support for the DGP grows describing him as an honest officer and a Role Model for thousands of Naga Youth.
Netizens accused the Govt of trying to ouster the DGP for not being a robotic officer.@rupin1992 @rajnathsingh
— WeTheNagas (@WeTheNagas) April 10, 2018
According to a source, Sharma has been vocal about what is seen as backdoor appointments in the police department for quite some time, which could have led to a friction between him and some powerful politicians.
“As DG prisons, he started a skill development programme for the inmates. He made sure the money they earned is deposited in their accounts,” said the source.
Sharma says that since he’s not a Naga, he has no tribal affiliation and if there’s been any visible difference in the past four months, it’s only because he has “even and fair minded to everybody across ranks, officials and party lines”.
“The police department is a major employer in the state and we have thousand odd vacancies every year. But unfortunately people are only picked based on their tribal affinity,” Sharma said.
“After I came, people started thinking there will be an equal opportunity for all. That’s why I have people’s support,” he added.
This isn’t the first time the state government has written to MHA for a change in appointment of DGP. In April last year, NPF party president and then CM Shuhrozelie Liezietsu wrote to PM Narendra Modi for the deputation of Lungriading for another three years, since Doungel was up for retirement in February 2018.
Subsequently, in October, former CM T.R. Zeliang wrote to the home minister for the inter-cadre deputation of Lungriading on the grounds that he is a native of Nagaland and would be well versed with the local issues.
Current deputy CM Patton was opposed to Sharma’s appointment even during the Naga People’s Front coalition rule, when he handled the home portfolio, party sources said.
A former official in the R&AW, India’s external intelligence agency where Sharma served in the past, said that Patton had tried his best to block his appointment as DGP.
“The person they want from the Assam cadre is junior to Sharma. They basically want a ‘yes man’ since that precedence was set since the time Doungel was appointed as DGP,” the former R&AW official told ThePrint.