THE recent transfer of Tarn Taran’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) made me remember my brushes with politicians when I was the Gurdaspur SSP.
My telephone orderly once called me up to say that the Chief Minister wanted to speak to me. It was midnight and I had just retired for the day. I had been on duty during the elections to local cooperative institutions; notably, the majority of the candidates supported by the ruling party had lost. A minister from the district had thrown his weight behind the candidates of his party. Those were the days of terrorism, and Gurdaspur was a hotbed of trouble. One never knew when an incident might take place that would require the SSP to handle the situation. So, I used to be in a state of readiness till 11 pm, in uniform, with my vehicle, driver and security personnel ready to move at a moment’s notice.
As the orderly said the CM was on call, I threw the quilt aside and roused myself from slumber.
‘I had put you there thinking that you were my man,’ the CM said, sounding indignant. Suppressing my own indignation at the use of the term ‘my man’, I simply said, ‘Yes, sir.’
‘I have come to know that you gave money to voters to ensure the defeat of our candidates,’ the CM burst out. This was too much for me. However, keeping my voice and emotions under control, I strongly denied the allegation and suggested that I should be divested of the charge of the district immediately, while demanding that an inquiry be ordered to ascertain the truth.
He seemed somewhat mollified and said, ‘A minister of your district is sitting with me and he has told me everything.’ I tried to tell him that I should be given a hearing to explain why the minister might be unhappy with me. He hung up in a huff (ironically, that minister developed good relations with me several years later, when I was posted at the police headquarters in Chandigarh).
I couldn’t sleep that night. Next morning, I called the Director General of Police, apprised him of the matter and requested him to immediately recall me from the district, pending an inquiry. He advised me to wait till the meeting of various senior superintendents of police and range DIGs, convened by the CM in Jalandhar the next day. In the meantime, he would brief the CM, he said.
At the meeting, I felt very uneasy as I was trying to grab a chance to speak to the Chief Minister. Surprisingly, he took me aside and said, ‘Keep doing your duty. That minister wants to replace me.’ And then he went away, having put my worries to rest.
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