Bhubaneswar: Amid mounting pressure from opposition parties and lawyers, Odisha government on Thursday placed IPS officer Satish Kumar Gajbhiye under suspension in wake of alleged police excess on the demonstrators in Kendrapara district last week.
"Ex-SP Satish Kumar Gajbhiye is placed under suspension," a communique from the chief minister's office said this evening.
The action was taken on the basis of the report of the Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjeev Marik.
The DGP, who had been asked to submit a report to the home secretary on the alleged police excess in Kendrapara, had earlier sought a field report from the Inspector General of Police (Central Range).
The 2002-batch IPS officer Gajbhiye was last week shunted from Kendrapara district following the allegation and made Officer Without Duty (OWD) at the state police headquarters in Cuttack.
Gajbhiye has been in the dock over alleged brutal assault of people demonstrating in Kendarapra demanding action against controversial self-styled godman Santosh Raula alias Sarathi Baba on August 7 and for acquisition and alleged encroachment of land in Gop block in Puri district.
Gajbhiye was also accused of assaulting a lawyer and forcing him to do sit-ups when the people were demonstrating against Sarathi Baba. The lawyer also happens to be BJP's Kendrapara district unit President.
The lawyers across the state including members of Orissa High Court Bar Association had issued ultimatum to state government for action against Gajbhiye.
High Court Bar Association had served an ultimatum yesterday warning that it would boycott the Independence Day celebrations if the government did not act against Gajbhiye by Friday (tomorrow).
Gajbhiye, on his part, in a Facebook post on Saturday defended his action in Kendrapara saying there was no ground to arrest Sarathi Baba. He had, however, withdrawn the post after reportedly being nudged to do so by higher-ups.
While BJP had announced its plan to gherao the state police headquarters tomorrow, Congress also threatened to gherao Raj Bhavan on August 17 if action was not taken against the IPS officer by Friday.
Civil society organisations too had submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding action against the controversial IPS officer.
Not satisfied with government's suspension order, the state unit of BJP demanded dismissal and arrest of Gajbhiye.
Meanwhile, the government also placed Sarat Chandra Patra, a school teacher, under suspension on charge of dereliction of duty.
Patra was one of the main associates of Sarathi Baba, who is now facing interrogation by the Crime Branch officials after his arrest.