Yearlong tenure extension for Bathinda DSP raises eyebrows

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Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
August 1, 2021 9:26:04 pm

A deputy superintendent of police has been given a year-long extension in his tenure by the Punjab government, leading to many eyebrows being raised in the police and political circles.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Bathinda, Gurjit Singh Romana, officially retired on Sunday (July 31). But a notification, issued on July 26, by the Punjab home ministry, stated that Romana will continue as the DSP of Bathinda till July 31, 2022. Ironically, the notification by the Punjab government goes against the state’s own policy of not giving service extensions for its employees that was implemented last year.

Well-known and well-liked among the ranks of Punjab’s ruling Congress party, Romana had hit the headlines in 2017 after being indicted in departmental inquiries for releasing an accused in a drug case. He was held guilty for his suspected role in the FIR lodged against one Gobind Gupta for allegedly having an illegal stock of 1,500 habit-forming tablets.

Although the allegations against Romana were found to be true in an internal report submitted, no action was taken against him. Even though Romana was acquitted, and continued serving in the force, a second case was lodged against the suspect in the drug case and the man re-arrested.

“It is not possible for a DSP level officer to convince the home department to give him an extension in tenure, especially when the state has no such policy in place. Romana’s extension was pushed solely by Cabinet minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who chose to look past the officer’s chequered history. On one side the Punjab government is giving jobs to the sons and daughters of Congress MLAs, on the other, it is promoting officers with dubious past records by giving them undue extensions. Such officers will be used by the government in the upcoming Assembly elections by the ruling party in 2022.,” said Aam Adami Party MLA from Talwandi Sabo, Baljinder Kaur.

She added, “If there is a no extension policy in place by the state, then how was Romana exclusively asked to carry on for one more year? This government has no merit and works  only in a manner that suits itself.”

Gupta, who was arrested on April 10, 2017, was released within 10 days of lodging the FIR at Bathinda’s Nehianwala police station after a court granted him bail. In the cancellation report, Romana had reportedly cited a drug inspector’s statement claiming that the accused, Gupta, had the licence to sell and purchase such medicines. Sources later said that no action was taken against Romana after the internal report later concluded that Gupta’s release was a mistake on the part of Romana and not a deliberate attempt.

After the inquiry indicated him, Romana was transferred to 6th IRB, Ladda Kothi, in Sangrur, for some time. However, he soon returned as the DSP in Bathinda after the probe against him concluded.

Contacted, newly-appointed working president of Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, Pawan Goyal, said, “I am not aware of the facts of the case. The Opposition is just hurling baseless allegations. Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, will look into the matter and if there was anything wrong in giving the DSP an extension.

Punjab Home Minister, Manpreet Singh Badal, didn’t answer repeated calls for a comment on the developments.

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