Chandigarh | Jagran News Desk: Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Viresh Kumar Bhawra on Saturday was appointed as the new director-general police (DGP) of Punjab on the consideration of the panel received from UPSC. Bhawra, who previously served with the Intelligence Bureau (IB), will replace Siddharth Chattopadhyaya as the state top cop.

The 1987 batch IPS officer - who will have a minimum period of two years from the date of assumption of office - was selected by the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government in Punjab 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.

Media reports suggest that the Channi government was not willing to appoint a new DGP and replace Chattopadhyaya and had also held a key meeting with state Home Secretary Anurag Verma and Advocate General DS Patwalia in this regard.

Quoting sources, The Indian Express claimed that the Congress high command knew about Channi's unwillingness to not replace Chattopadhyaya. The report claimed some top party leaders, including AICC secretary Harish Chaudhary, were backing Channi.

"We are trying to make CM see reason. If we delay, then we may get Gupta. We will be back to square one. If CM is able to see reason, then we may get him to sign the file," The Indian Express quoted a Punjab government functionary as saying.

It should be noted that the Channi government is under fire due to the alleged security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ferozepur visit. The Centre has blamed the Punjab government and asked it to submit a detailed report about the issue and take strict actions.

The Union Home Ministry has also issued showcause notices to Bathinda's Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Maluja and five other officers over the "major lapses”. Meanwhile, the Punjab government submitted a report to the Centre, giving the sequence of events and informing that an FIR has been registered against about 150 unidentified protesters.

Both the Centre and the state set up separate inquiry committees into the lapse.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma