LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh government on late Wednesday removed its DGP Mukul Goel, a 1987-batch IPS, citing “disregard for government work” and “not taking interest in government activities.
Goel has not been seeing eye-to-eye with some officers of the UP chief minister including additional principal home secretary Awanish Awasthi and additional secretary (information and public relations) Navneet Sehgal.
Both Awasthi and Sehgal enjoy full proximity to CM Yogi Adityanath.
Goel, who had taken charge as UP DGP last year after his return from central deputation with the Border Security Force (BSF) where he served as its ADGP, had not been routinely attending press conferences alongside Awasthi on key issues.
Goel has now been sent to civil defence as its DGP. A terse one line order by Awasthi read, “I have been asked to direct you that keeping in welfare of UP, it has been decided to depute you in the civil defence wing in Lucknow.”
UP government has given the temporary charge of DGP to its ADGP (law and order) Prashant Kumar, a 1990-batch IPS, till the selection of new police chief is made. Kumar has been one of the most successful ADG (law and order) after his predecessor PV Ramastry and played an instrumental role in battling crisis and peace times for government during Hathras rape case and Lok Sabha elections. Kumar is also known for his pleasing personality, deft handling of media and acceptability among all senior staff of chief minister’s office.
There are eight officers in the race to become the DGP in UP. This includes Goel’s own 1987-batchmates Bishwajit Mahapatra (DG special investigations), Gopal Lal Meena (DG, CB CID), Dr RP Singh (DG, training), all of whom have a minimum six months of service left for the eligibility criteria for becoming the DGP, according the Supreme Court guidelines of 2019.
Other IPS officers who are eyeing the DGP post are Devendra Chauhan, a 1988-batch IPS (DG intelligence), Anand Kumar, a 1988-batch IPS (DG fire services) Dr Raj Kumar Vishakarma (PSR and PB) and Chandra Prakash ( DGP special enquiries).
During Yogi 1.0, many in the Opposition had accused the Yogi administration of favouring one caste — Thakur — for handpicking the cop for top post when OP Singh and Sulkhan Singh served as DGPs even though UP later also saw selection of HC Awasthi, a Brahmin and Goel, a Baniya making the cut.
While Yogi likes to be hands-on with his law and order approach, considering several encounters and anti-encroachment drives run by him won plaudits from UP locals and outsiders, some IPS officers have also disliked his approach, either sought central deputations or inter-cadre deputations.
In last three years, several top officers including Aditya Mishra (1989-batch IPS), PV Ramasastry (1989-batch IPS), Daljeet Choudhary (1990-batch IPS), Deepak Ratan (1997-batch IPS) among others have left for better opportunities. Mishra is serving at home ministry at Lands Ports Authority of India (LPAI), Ramasastry has gone to BSF, Choudhary has been handpicked by home ministry as ADG CRPF for Jammu and Kashmir after a long successful stint at ITBP, Ratan is serving at CRPF, and Kumar too is serving at CRPF as IG administration.