Chandigarh, September 29
Acting against the alleged sand mafia appears to have proven costly for two district police chiefs in the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government even as the party had, before coming to power, promised to end illegal mining in Punjab.
In AAP legislator’s crosshairs
- Tarn Taran SSP Gurmeet Chauhan arrested 10 persons, including a brother-in-law of AAP MLA Manjinder Lalpura
- In April last year, Dhruman H Nimbale was shifted out of Hoshiarpur a week after he busted a gang of illegal miners
SSP Gurmeet Chauhan was shunted out of the highly sensitive Tarn Taran border district on Thursday, a day after he had arrested 10 persons, including Nishan Singh, a brother-in-law of AAP MLA from Khadoor Sahib Manjinder Singh Lalpura. The MLA had challenged the SSP on Facebook to “implicate him instead of his relatives in false cases”. Chauhan may have been given an “unceremonious exit” by the government, but the Tarn Taran police accorded him an “unprecedented farewell”. Standing on a police jeep, Chauhan was taken around in a procession of honour. “He was garlanded and flower petals were showered on him. This is a rare farewell for a police chief shunted out by the government,” said an official. In April last year, the AAP government had similarly posted out IPS officer Dhruman H Nimbale from Hoshiarpur within a week after he busted a gang of illegal sand miners and seized Rs 1.53 crore from them. Nimbale immediately opted for central deputation as he had been transferred 18 times in about eight years of service in Punjab.
Two of his controversial transfers coincided with his action against illegal sand mining in Tarn Taran and Moga under the Capt Amarinder Singh regime. He had ordered more than 100 FIRs over illegal mining during his tenure as the SSP of Tarn Taran, Moga and Hoshiarpur.
Besides sand mining, Chauhan had busted a hawala network of payments made to Pakistan-based smugglers. Several police officials, wishing not to be identified, said the morale of the force was hit with such transfers. A three-page anonymous letter, addressed to police officials from the level of SSPs to constables, asked them “not to go out of the way to achieve any results or trace cases”.
AAP spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang told the media that the government had high regards for officers like SSP Chauhan who had done “wonderful work” in the past, but the word of an MLA, an elected representative, on a “false case could also not be ignored”.
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