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In Naveen Regime: Top cop faces bureaucratic vendetta!

 

Posted on 13 Jul 2014

Last updated 13 Jul 2014

  Odisha, Bureaucracy, Prakash Mishra, Naveen Patnaik

Prakash Mishra, erstwhile DGP of Odisha, might have been a victim of vendetta and a sinister design by a group of bureaucrats who make the coterie of the Chief Minister, but it also exemplifies how coherently, efficiently and objectively the Naveen Patnaik government, state bureaucracy and police administration run in Odisha where even the top cops have to face humiliating situations.

Basudev Mahapatra

 

The way Odisha’s erstwhile Director General of Police (DGP), Prakash Mishra, a 1977 batch IPS, was pulled out of the post and placed as the CMD of the running-for-namesake State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC), many sense an act of vendetta from the Home department, headed throughout by Naveen Patnaik, record time Chief Minister of Odisha holding the office since 2000.

The decision of shifting Mishra from the top post of Odisha Police came on July 5, the very next day of his selection for the post of special secretary (internal affairs) in the union home ministry.

As per reports, the Union Home minister Rajnath Singh had called Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on July 4, to convey his Ministry’s decision to appoint Mishra in this crucial position.

When the media was speculating who was to replace Mishra as DGP, an abrupt order came from the home department of Odisha for replacement of Mishra with Sanjeev Marik, a 1981 batch IPS who held the post of special DGP, especially created for him.

It was only a matter of few days for the Odisha government to relieve Mishra to join the union home ministry and put Marik or anybody else as state police DGP. But the unexpected decision of shifting Mishra, soon after he completed two years in the post, and posting him as OSRTC CMD instead of relieving him to go to the centre obviously looked fishy to many including a few insiders as well.

To many, who do not dare to risk with their career by making an official statement in this regard, it looks like a clear act of vendetta by the Odisha home department which is under the Chief Minister himself and is allegedly run by an unholy nexus of a few cunning officers that makes the coterie of the CM.

Earlier, as local media reported, Mishra had requested for the state government’s clearance to be considered for a position in the Union Government and his case was sponsored by the state government in December 2013. But, shortly after the general elections, the state government declined its sponsorship showing its inability to spare the services of the top cop due to shortage of police officers in the state.

Now, the question comes, if the state police department is really facing a scarcity of officers, how could it spare its topmost cop to do nothing of his kind? Or, is it a step to humiliate and obstruct the growth of an officer who has a record of efficient delivery throughout his career, as DG, NDRF and DGP, Odisha apart from the other assignments he handled that qualified him for a senior position in the central police hierarchy?

The later one looks more relevant when some of the facts of recent past are put on the canvass.

A BJD party insider, who never wanted to be named in this context, said that Naveen Patnaik and his trusted officers were disappointed with Mishra because of the strong police administration under his leadership during the last general polls. The disappointment has turned into vengeance after the overwhelming victory of the party smashing the opposition parties to helpless sizes.

Claiming that a senior BJD MP has been assigned the job to persuade the Union home minister against offering any position to Mishra, the Odisha Sun Times further added that “the Naveen Patnaik government has now embarked on an even more sinister course. The vigilance department, the perennial hand maiden of the government, has been asked to dig up some old files to implicate him in a case to further embarrass Mishra,” while quoting reliable sources.

Pondering upon why the state government has been so scared about sending Mishra to Delhi, the report in Odisha Sun Times said, “Grapevine has it some IAS and IPS officers in Odisha perceived very close to the chief minister apprehend that the hushed up cases against them could be reopened once Mishra is in Delhi.”

As believed in general, it was the choice of Naveen Patnaik to bring in Mishra as DGP, in July 2012, by shunting Manmohan Praharaj because of the failure of police intelligence in giving information about the alleged coup attempt by Pyarimohan Mohapatra, Naveen’s long-time aide, on May 29, 2012. Naveen was on a London tour at the time.

“But it was not long before Mishra was disillusioned and disappointed by the complete arbitrariness in the way things were being run in the home department,” said a journalist Brahma K Mohanty in his report ”Naveen home in disorder: Senior IPS officers unhappy playing bellboys in Odisha,” published in the Current News.

Last year, Mishra’s name was shortlisted for the post of Director General of the National Investigating Agency (NIA). But the Naveen government refused to relieve Mishra leaving him without any option but to wait till the general elections were over. But the state seems to be in no mood even now to let him go to the centre for whatever reason and for whosoever’s interest.

Going by the whole story, Prakash Mishra might have been a victim of vendetta and a sinister design by a group of bureaucrats who make the coterie of the Chief Minister, but it also exemplifies how coherently, efficiently and objectively the state bureaucracy and police administration run in Odisha where even the top cops have to face humiliating situations.

This is perhaps the reason why many IPS and IAS officers have opted to go on central deputation during Naveen regime and several others are waiting for an opportunity for the same, as rumours fly in the bureaucratic corridors of state secretariat.

The latest news is that the reigning chief secretary of Odisha, 1980 batch IAS Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, may leave the state shortly as he has been appointed as Secretary, Chemical and Fertiliser ministry of the union government of India.

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