SP shunted out after spat with collector

Calling it an unfair move, the police officers’ lobby asks the government to transfer the IAS officer as well

In a clash for supremacy between senior police officers and bureaucrats, a district superintendent of police (SP) has been transferred on the charges of disrespecting an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Bhandara SP Dilip Zalke, who had an angry spat in his office with district collector Dheeraj Kumar on August 27 this year, was given the marching orders on Thursday.

He will move out to Washim district as SP without serving a full term in Bhandara, where he had joined in May this year. His transfer was clubbed with the reshuffling of four other officers of the SP rank. Zalke’s transfer did not go down well with senior police officials, who demanded that the district collector should also be transferred with immediate effect because he too had insulted Zalke in public.

They said that an inquiry officer had held Zalke responsible for misconduct and disrespecting the collector, and also found the collector guilty of violating protocol by visiting the SP’s office. The police officers said that the collector had insulted the SP before it turned into a heated exchange between the two in the presence of several police and revenue officials.

Power struggle
The issue caught the police lobby unawares a couple of months ago when Principal Secretary (revenue) Manukumar Shrivastava, who was asked to probe the Bhandara incident, recommended that the SPs should be asked to report to district collectors (IAS officers).

He further suggested that collectors be empowered to write district police chiefs’ annual confidential reports. These recommendations started a full-fledged battle between the two major branches of the government and Director General of Police Praveen Dixit summarily rejected the recommendations.

He asked the government to not let bureaucrats control the police department beyond a certain point. Currently, inspectors general of respective ranges write SPs’ annual performance reports. However, the ultimate power that decides promotions and transfers of police officers rests with senior IAS officers.

In some cases, senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers are even asked to report to junior IAS officers. mid-day reported the development on November 1 (‘IPS, IAS in power spat’), when IPS officers had said that Shrivastava’s recommendations were a ploy to usurp their policing powers and gain total control of the police machinery.

However, Mantralaya officials expected Zalke’s transfer to stop a debate that had started after Shrivastava’s recommendations. They said that Zalke, a state police service police officer who is due for promotion to IPS,
was given another prime district to handle. They added that Shrivastava’s recommendations would go into cold storage because of the IPS lobby’s strong opposition.

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