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CAT sets aside appointment of Punjab DGP; govt to appeal in High Court

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Chandigarh, January 17: In a big blow to Punjab government, the Central Administrative Tribunal on Friday set aside the appointment of Dinkar Gupta as the state police chief.

A two-member bench of CAT chairman L Narsimha Reddy and M Jamshed pronounced the order on an appeal by Mohammad Mustafa and Siddhharth Chattopadhyaya, who had challenged Gupta’s appointment on the ground that they were “ignored” despite being senior to Gupta. The bench, in its 54-page order, directed the Union Public Service Commission and the empanelment committee to form a new panel of three senior-most officers for appointment to the post of DGP and complete the exercise within four weeks.

In the plea filed last year, the two police officers said they were senior to Gupta and had outstanding service records. “The empanelment was done by a committee headed by then DGP Suresh Arora who was biased against Chattopadhyaya,” their counsel Atma Ram said in the plea. The police officers also opposed the contention of the empanelment committee, which sent a report to the UPSC saying the officers lacked experience in core policing areas, Ram said. While Mustafa is a 1985-batch officer and Chattopadhyaya a 1986-batch officer, Gupta is a 1987-batch officer.

The counsel said his clients were ignored by UPSC for appointment as the state’s DGP. Gupta was appointed DGP in 2019, succeeding Arora.

He superseded five senior officers, including Mustafa and Chattopadhyaya.

In his previous stint, Gupta was posted as the director general of police, intelligence, Punjab. He had an eight-year-stint on central deputation with the Home Ministry, from June 2004 to July 2012, where he held many sensitive assignments.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the issue is between UPSC and CAT and “Dinkar Gupta is still DGP.”

The Government of Punjab has decided that it will challenge the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order quashing the appointment of Director General of Police, Punjab, Dinkar Gupta.

Disclosing this, a senior officer of the Punjab government said the government will challenge the order in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The official added that the matter will be taken up by a division bench of the High Court.

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