Many in Punjab Police say that senior IPS officers RN Doke and Narinder Bhargav failed to rise to the occasion to nip the menace in the bud.
As the chase for planted Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh entered Day 12, the Bhagwant Mann government on Wednesday issued marching orders for dozens of police officers, but those who have been blamed for the botched-up operation – including senior IPS officers RN Dhoke and Narinder Bhargav – have escaped administrative scrutiny.
Unsatisfied with their performance during the hunt for former Dubai truck driver Amritpal, chief minister Bhagwant Mann ordered transfer for at least 33 police officers – mostly in Jalandhar and Amritsar commissionerates.
Notably, Amritpal’s area of influence is limited to these two police commissionerates. Emboldened by inaction by the two top-level police officers responsible for the region, Amritpal led a mob of thousands and attacked a police station in Amritsar district to force police to free his comrade – a man arrested on charges of abduction in February.
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Since his arrival in his home village of Amritsar’s Jallupura in August last year, Amritsar made his ambitions very clear – to complete something his role model Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale could not do. He started emulating Bhindranwale and gave a provocative speech during a ceremony at the late militant leader’s native village Rode in Moga.
Notwithstanding Amritpal’s growing threat to Punjab’s peace, special DG (internal security) RN Dhoke and DIG (Border Range of Amritsar) Narinder Bhargav failed to rise to the occasion to tackle the menace created by the Khalistani leader.
Dhoke, a 1993-batch IPS officer was responsible for the entire operation against Amritpal’s ‘Waris Punjab De’ as both the intelligence wing and counter-intelligence wing report to him. It is these two wings that generate the inputs on the movement of criminals and terrorists based on the antecedents. These two wings have the ability to oversee the loggers such as equipment to monitor the phone calls and internet surveillance of criminals/terrorists and their associates.
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DIG Narinder Bhargav, a 2008-batch Punjab-cadre police officer, has also escaped the government’s scrutiny for his failure to stop Amritpal’s illegal activities in the region under him. He was roped in after Amritpal and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station in Amritsar district as they overran police barricades and unleashed violence that injured at least six policemen.
After the incident, Bhargav was posted as deputy inspector general in the sensitive border range of Amritsar. Sources, however, say that he did very little to stop Amritpal from maintaining contacts with his family, friends and others who were supplying him weapons. It is not clear if he conducted any raids after the Ajnala incident. Many in the Punjab Police department say that the officer’s action was inadequate and was not seen on the ground.
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The list of 33 officers of transfers and postings excludes the names of Dhoke and Bhargav while other cops, mostly low-level officers, have been made scapegoats.
The AAP government has transferred and given new assignments to nine IPS and PPS (Punjab Police Service) officers. On the contrary, the action has been taken against 24 DSP-level officers.
Among top level police officers affected by the reshuffle are IPS officers Vatsala Gupta, Swarandeep Singh, Ravcharn Singh and PPS officers Mukhwinder Singh, Manjit Kaur, Sarabjit Singh, and Jaskiranjit Singh Teja.