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Viresh Kumar Bhawra appointed as new DGP amid furore over PM’s security breach

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Viresh Kumar Bhawra
Photo Credit: Hindustan Times

The Punjab government, led by Charanjit Singh Channi, appointed Viresh Kumar Bhawra, a 1987-batch IPS officer, as the state’s director-general of police just hours before the model code of conduct for assembly elections took effect on Saturday (DGP).

IPS officer S Chattopadhyaya, who landed in a controversy over a security breach during Prime Minister Narendra will be replaced by Viresh Kumar Bhawra who is appointed as the new Punjab police chief, in Chandigarh on Saturday.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Chattopadhyaya was replaced because his name was not included in the list of three officers submitted to the state government by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) earlier this week, and also because of the row over the security failure.

Other than Bhawra, who was previously the DGP of the Punjab Home Guards, senior IPS officers Dinkar Gupta and Prabodh Kumar were also on the list.

“On the consideration of the panel received from the UPSC, the Punjab governor is pleased to appoint Viresh Kumar Bhawra, IPS as director-general of police, Punjab (Head of Police Force),” an order released by the state government said.

“His term shall be for a minimum period of two years from the date of assumption of office in pursuance of the Supreme Court orders,” it added.

On March 31, Chattopadhyaya was supposed to retire. Despite the fact Channi and home minister Sukhjinder Randhawa decided to appoint a new DGP, amid the row over the PM’s security lapse, the individual cited above said on condition of anonymity.

Bhawra, who was the state intelligence chief when Captain Amarinder Singh was Punjab’s chief minister, is the third DGP chosen by the Channi government during its brief time, which began in September last year. On November 29, after Dinkar Gupta was fired as DGP on October 4, Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota was appointed as acting DGP. On December 16, he was replaced by Chattopadhyaya. According to the Supreme Court’s directions, the state government must choose one of the three IPS officers shortlisted by the UPSC for the appointment of a DGP.

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