Police transfers: for ‘vested’ or in public interest?
In January 2015, the city witnessed a major change in the functioning of the police department as the system under the Superintendent of Police was replaced by a commissionerate and ADGP Jyotirmay Chakravarty became the first commissioner of police of the city. Just after a six-month tenure he was transferred and ADGP Mukesh Agrawal was made the commissioner of police. Recently, the Assam Police witnessed a major reshuffle in top level of cops and now IGP Hiren Nath has taken charge as the commissioner of police. Thus Guwahati, in just one and half years of the formation of the commissionerate, has got three commissioners. So what are the criteria in which police officers are transferred? Who takes the decision and are police officers transferred due to vested or in public interest? G Plus tries to explore the reasons behind transfers of officers.
According to a very highly placed source in the police reserve, before the formation of commissionerate, many police department vehicles in the reserve were requisitioned by other high profile people for their personal use. But after 1st January 2015, such incidents stopped. The commissioner did not allow personal use of the departmental vehicles. According to the source, high profile people like PAs of politicians, relatives of senior police officers etc. had to take permission from the commissioner directly to use the vehicles which he would allow only if there was a valid reason. So, the police freebies to some well connected people of the city were withdrawn which irked many. Also, according to many police officials, Chakravarty was a no-nonsense man who worked within the law and did not hesitate to question higher authorities if the occasion so demanded. A very highly placed source in the police department said that as Chakravarty held democratic ideals very dear, his move of permitting the special police officers and KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi to stage a protest in a certain part of the city irked the authorities sitting in the secretariat who decided to transfer him out to a different role. So that was the fate of the first commissioner of police.
The performance of Mukesh Agrawal was lauded until his last day in office as the abducted 7-year-old Adishra Dutta was safely rescued from her abductors within a span of 24 hours. Also, according to OC level officers in the police commissionerate, Agrawal is a smart police officer who knows how to deal with complex situations. Agrawal was successful in solving crimes and arresting criminals and he even maintained good relations with the higher officials and the politicos. The OC said that Agrawal was very friendly to other police officers and at times very helpful. One OC even said that Agrawal had taken many measures to decrease the crime rate in the city and the crime rate has indeed come down drastically. The sources in police also said that during the tenure of Agrawal, special police teams where formed who used to be in civvies patrolling the usual city hangouts of drunkards and drug addicts like Chanmari Flyover, Paltan Bazar, Maligaon Station, Pandu, Chatribari, etc. giving a tough time to the indulgers and their gangs to relax their guard. These indulgences are one of the major causes of crimes at nights in the city. So both the former commissioners performed well and yet one was transferred in six months and the other in one year. What are the reasons behind the transfers?
A very senior police official in Assam Police, talking to G Plus in anonymity said, “There are many reasons for transfers and such decisions rest squarely with the government. If there is a promotion then there can be a transfer. If an officer completes his/her tenure there can be a transfer. If junior officers are promoted there can be transfers. So there is no prescribed criterion for transfer; it is a routine practice done by the government.” When asked whether the decisions are politically motivated, the officer said that the politicians in the government are public servants and so they decide the transfers in the interest of the public. The officer also said that sometimes when there is a movement of one officer it leads to the movement of many officers together.
Another senior police officer talking to G Plus said that many times transfers are made in public interest. But when a politician has a close associate in the police force who asks for a better placement then the same might be done with some vested interest. Many times the police officers even have to pay to the politicians for transfers. The officer also said that now that there is a new government, maybe it is forming its own team to work for the development of the state. He said, “I think a chance should be given to the new government to form its own team and start working for the public interest. After a few days the public will anyway come to know whether the team worked in public or for vested interest.” He said that as the government is elected by the public it has the right to form its own team and transfer the officers. Accordingly, if it does not perform the public can judge and criticize.
Whatever be the reason, the Guwahati commissionerate at least should not keep witnessing changes within six months or one year and there should be a platform where even the public can participate in choosing the team which will work for them. This is a debatable point as elections already give the public that platform. Yet, it would certainly be in the interest of the public if the criteria under which the officers are transferred be made transparent and known to the public.
Recent transfers in Guwahati commissionerate
• Mukesh Agarwal, Commissioner of Police, Guwahati is transferred and posted as Addl. Director General of Police (L&O)
• Hiren Nath appointed as new Police Commissioner of Guwahati
• Amanjit Kaur, SP Jorhat, transferred as DCP Traffic, Guwahati Police Commissionerate.
• Sushanta Biswa Sarma, APS, 2i/c, 6th APBn, Kathal, is transferred and posted as Addl. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central), Police Commissionerate, Guwahati vice Dr. Rubul Gogoi
• Dibash Ranjan Das, ADCP (Border), Police Commissionerate, Guwahati is promoted as Deputy Commissioner of Police (Border), Police Commissionerate, Guwahati vice Shri Lachit Baruah
• Debraj Upadhaya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Admn), Police Commissionerate, Guwahati, is transferred and posted as Superintendent of Police, Nagaon, vice Shri YT Gyatso
• Arabinda Kalita , posted as new DCP (Admin) , Guwahati Commissionerate