Senior IPS officer Viresh Kumar Bhawra has been appointed as the new director-general of Punjab police, an official order said on Saturday.
The order came just hours before the announcement of the dates for the assembly elections in five states including Punjab.
Bhawra, who was the DGP of Punjab Home Guards, replaced officiating DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya.
Chattopadhyaya along with 13 other police and civil officers appeared on Friday at Ferozepur before a three-member panel formed by the Union Home Ministry to inquire into the “serious lapses” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security during his Ferozepur tour.
The Charanjit Singh Channi government selected the 1987 batch officer Bhawra out of a panel of three officers shortlisted by the Union Public Service Commission.
The other two officers in the panel were senior IPS officers Dinkar Gupta and Prabodh Kumar.
“On the consideration of the panel received from the UPSC, the Punjab governor is pleased to appoint Viresh Kumar Bhawra, IPS as director general of police, Punjab (Head of Police Force),” the order said.
Bhawra term shall be for a minimum period of two years from the date of assumption of office, it added.
Punjab got its third DGP in a span of three months.
A few days back, the UPSC had sent a panel of three IPS officers — Dinkar Gupta, V K Bhawra and Prabodh Kumar for the appointment of a regular director general of police of Punjab.
According to the Supreme Court guidelines, out of the three shortlisted IPS officers by the UPSC, the state government is to finalise the name of one officer for the appointment of a regular DGP.
The Punjab government had sent a list of 10 IPS officers including Siddharth Chattopadhyaya for shortlisting the panel of three officers.
According to the SC guidelines, only an officer who has been left at least six months of service can be considered for the post of DGP.
The UPSC had taken October 5, 2021 as the cut-off date for the selection of the DGP and since Chattopadhyaya was due to retire on March 31, 2022, his name did not find a place in the panel.
After Charanjit Singh Channi took over as the new chief minister last September, the 1988-batch IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota was appointed as the officiating DGP replacing Dinkar Gupta who was the state police chief when Amarinder Singh was the chief minister.
But Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu was against the appointment of Sahota.
Later after facing pressure from the former cricketer, the state government had appointed 1986-batch IPS officer Siddharth Chattopadhyaya as officiating DGP until a regular DGP is appointed out of a panel of three IPS officers shortlisted by the UPSC.
Photograph: Courtesy, @BhawraViresh/Twitter