Race for Delhi Police chief heats up as Shrivastava to superannuate


Race to become Commissioner of Delhi Police has intensified with serving Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava, a 1985 batch Indian Police Service officer, is all set to hang up his boots by June end. Shrivastava’s four juniors — three from 1987 batch — A.S.M. Sahai, Satyendra K. Garg and Dilbagh Singh and one from 1988 batch Balaji Srivastava — are jostling for the top post in the national capital.

S.M. Sahai and Dilbagh Singh are from erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir cadre, which was merged with Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre after Centre abrogated Article 370 and the Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, dissolving the state and reorganised it into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The union territories are administered by the AGMUT cadre government officials.

Sahai is currently serving as Additional Secretary in National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) since September 23, 2018 and in October 2020 got an extension for one year on central deputation.

Singh is serving as director general of the Jammu and Kashmir Police from November 2018. Singh took over as chief of the police force after his predecessor S.P. Vaid, caught in a verbal duel with Jammu and Kashmir administration, was shunted out and posted as transport commissioner. Singh has shown interest in becoming Commissioner of Police. However, there was a serious complaint against him by one of his juniors of alleged misappropriation of funds.

Garg is currently serving as Director General of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police. Before joining, he was posted as joint secretary in the union home ministry and was handling the North East division in the home ministry as joint secretary before being repatriated to his cadre. Garg was the senior most in AGMUT cadre before merger with Jammu and Kashmir. Post that, Sahai is the senior most in the cadre followed by Garg and then by Singh.

Balaji Srivastava of 1988 batch is junior to all of these three officers but is considered in the race of the Commissioner of Police. He is currently serving as Special Commissioner of Police Vigilance in Delhi Police.

All these four officers in the race for the post of top position of Delhi Police face alleged corrupt practices, favouritism and nepotism. The alleged process of transfer and posting of Station Houses Officers is the dark underbelly of the force.

The outgoing Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava, a AGMUT cadre officer, was appointed when Delhi was burning in north eastern parts. The riots in Northeast Delhi had left 53 people dead. Back then the Central government had written to Maharashtra government to send then Director General of State Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, a 1985 batch officer, for Central deputation so that he can take charge of Commissioner of Police, Delhi. But the Maharashtra government did not relieve him. Jaiswal is currently serving as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief.

Then the government decided to give the additional charge of Commissioner of Police, Delhi to Shrivastava, who was on Central deputation with Central Reserve Police Force. Last month, the Centre had given full charge to the Commissioner of Police. Shrivastava is behind bringing back the morale of the force — that protested against his predecessor Amulya Patnaik for ill treatment.

In the history of Delhi Police, for the first time the force protested against its own head and demanded the government to bring back two legendary IPS officers — Kiran Bedi and Deepak Mishra — to head the force. Both the officers were great leaders, as claimed by the force and their juniors, but were not made Delhi police chief.

Over selecting the police commissioner of Delhi, as rightly said by most of the officers working with the Ministry of Home Affairs: “No one can say who will be Delhi police chief beforehand…”

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at sumit.k@ians.in)