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ECI seeks panel to remove Punjab DGP

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 11:13

Chandigarh: After receiving a number of complaints, the Election Commission has sought formation of a three member panel to replace Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Saini in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls slated for April 30 in the state.

Congress, and other parties have demanded removal of Saini ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls based on the number of criminal charges pending against him.

Saini enjoys close proximity with Akalis. He was appointed as Punjab DGP by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
He would likely be replaced by one from a panel of three DGPs, namely G D Pandey of the Punjab Home Guards, Suresh Arora of the Vigilance Bureau, and Sanjiv Gupta of Security and Vigilance.

Saini has late last evening sent request for "leave" which has been accepted by the Election Commission in Delhi, the ECI sources said.

He is said to have filed his leave application after the Election Commission had transferred a number of other officers.
Saini`s removal means a setback for Akali Dal (Badal) which had opposed orders from the Election Commission on the basis that the DGP had already overseen two major elections during his tenure.

Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira had sought Saini`s removal on the ground that he was chargesheeted in a criminal case in 2006.

Besides, some Congress MPs from the state and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too had said that free and fair elections would not be possible in the state if Saini remained the DGP.

With ECI shifting few state government officers including Commissioner of Police Ludhiana and four SSPs in the state recently, the state government apprehended Saini will also meet the same fate and to avoid such a situation the IPS officer proceeded on leave.

Saini is not the first top police officer in Punjab to face such a situation.

The then DGP S S Virk had to move out in 2007 assembly elections when Amarinder Singh was the Chief Minister and SAD had lodged a complaint against the senior police officer of alleged bias.

First Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 11:13

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