The Maharashtra government on Thursday cracked the whip on suspended former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh under Rule 3(1) and (3) of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, with immediate effect. The government will start disciplinary proceedings against Singh, IPS, 1988 batch, in respect of “certain irregularities and lapses committed by him including unauthorised absence from duty.” This is the first instance of a DG-rank IPS officer being suspended in Maharashtra.
Minutes after the suspension order was issued, the state government filed a caveat in the Bombay high court to avoid an ex parte order if Singh were to challenge the suspension. Further, the state government will convey its decision to the Centre, though it will not require the Union Home Ministry’s ratification. Such a ratification is needed in case of termination of services of an IPS officer of DG rank.
The home department had moved a file proposing the suspension of Singh, against whom five FIRs had been lodged. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray cleared the file before his discharge from hospital on Thursday. Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil had said early this week that the state government had accepted the inquiry report submitted by the one-member panel headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Planning) Debashish Chakrabarty, who had strongly called for a departmental inquiry against Singh. The minister had also said the government would take permissible action against him, adding that it had already started the suspension process.
The government has cited the five cases filed against Singh in connection with extortion and other charges. Singh had not shown up in the last six months after being appointed Maharashtra Home Guard chief. The leave granted to him on health grounds was till August 29, but even after that he failed to join duty.
Singh has been embroiled in controversy since the Antilia bomb scare incident. After he was removed as Mumbai Police Commissioner and appointed DG Home Guards, he levelled corruption charges in March against former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. He had accused Deshmukh of asking police officers to collect Rs 100 crore a month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai. Deshmukh has denied all the allegations.
Subsequently, the state government set up the Chandiwal Commission to probe these charges. After repeatedly skipping summons, Singh finally appeared early this week to make his submission.
During the suspension period, “Singh shall be paid subsistence allowance, dearness allowance and other allowances as admissible under Rule 4 of All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, on the production of a certificate that he is not engaged in any other employment,” the state government said. Further, during the period that the suspension order shall remain in place, Singh’s headquarters shall be the office of the state Director General of Police. Singh shall not leave the said headquarters without obtaining the permission of the state DGP.
“It shall not be permissible for Singh to accept any private employment or engage in any other trade or business during suspension. Any breach of this condition shall be treated as an act of misconduct rendering him liable for disciplinary action,’’ said the order.
Before his suspension, Singh was the Director-General of Maharashtra Home Guards and held several key positions, including that of the Police Commissioner of Thane and Mumbai, the Director General of the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order).
One-member panel report proved handy for govt
The one-member panel headed by the additional chief secretary (planning), Debashish Chakrabarty, had recommended action against Singh for defying the All-India Civil Service Rules. The report, which has been scanned by The Free Press Journal, has clearly observed that Singh has violated the All-India Services Rules and he should face a departmental inquiry. The government, which had accepted the committee’s report, proposed Singh’s suspension based on it.
Further, the committee said that “Singh also did not provide necessary facts to the government, including the CM and home minister, about the Antilia case especially with regard to placing explosives. The former Mumbai police chief hid the facts.’’
The committee also wrote its observations on whether Singh violated the service rules by writing a letter to the CM, making corruption charges against the former home minister, Anil Deshmukh. It also probed the reinstatement of the suspended police officer Sachin Waze by a committee headed by Singh.