New Delhi: The Bhagwant Mann government in Punjab appointed Gaurav Yadav, a 1992-batch IPS officer, the state’s officiating Director General of Police (DGP) Monday. Yadav was a civil services batchmate of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
Yadav, who is the son-in-law of former Punjab DGP P.C. Dogra, had so far been working as principal secretary to the Punjab chief minister’s office and acted as the main advisor on policing, intelligence and law-and-order to Bhagwant Mann. According to sources, he had been picked for the role by Kejriwal, days after the AAP came to power in Punjab in March this year.
The role of officiating DGP comes as an additional responsibility for the officer.
Yadav’s elevation to the top police post in the state comes days after it was reported that former DGP V.K. Bhawra would be going for two months leave, starting Tuesday. Bhawra has reportedly also applied for central deputation.
Yadav’s appointment order for the top post, issued by the Punjab government Monday night, read: “Mr Gaurav Yadav, Special DGP (administration) Punjab, Chandigarh, is hereby given the additional charge of the post of Director General of Police, Punjab, in addition to his own duties during the leave period of Mr Viresh Kumar Bhawra.”
The appointment is crucial not just for the Mann administration but also AAP, since it is only in Punjab that an AAP government has jurisdiction over the police. Delhi is a Union territory and the police is under the central government.
A senior official in the Punjab government, who did not wish to be identified, said: “Punjab has been facing a severe law and order issue for the last few months. The murder of Sidhu Moose Wala (the singer and Congress leader was shot dead in May), especially, raised concerns manifold. Also, Bhawra’s theory that Moose Wala’s death was the result of gang-rivalry backfired for the AAP.”
The official added: “Law-and-order concerns seem to be one of the main reasons why the AAP lost the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypolls last month. CM Bhagwant Mann had also expressed his displeasure over policing issues more than once in the last two weeks. So, the change has not come as much of a surprise.”
Promoted to DGP rank last month
Yadav had cleared the civil services exam in the same year as the Delhi CM, 1992. While Yadav joined the IPS, Kejriwal was appointed to the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), a job he eventually quit to get into full-time activism, and later politics.
Party functionaries and government officials are, however, guarded on the kind of equation shared by the two.
Originally from Uttar Pradesh, Yadav was one of four IPS officers in Punjab from the 1992 batch, who were promoted to DGP rank last month.
Punjab currently has 10 DGP-rank officers, including Yadav and Bhawra.
The government official quoted above said, of the eight remaining DGP-rank officers in the state, five are senior to Yadav — one belongs to the 1987 batch, and two each are from the 1988 and 1989 batches. While one of the five seniors is going to retire in August, two are currently in central deputation, the official said.
Under currently applicable protocols, the officer explained, the state government can post any DGP-rank officer as the head of the state force for up to six months. During this period, the government is supposed to send a list of eligible officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for short-listing three officers, one of whom would be chosen for the DGP’s post by the state government.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)