Amid the rage over Mamita murder, and when the State will be going to hold the grassroots elections - urban local bodies and Panchayats - in the year 2022, the countdown for the hot seat of the new Odisha DGP assumes significance.
Incumbent DGP Abhay's 2-year tenure will end on the last day of the year 2021. And in accordance with the new guideline of UPSC, the Odisha government had sent to the apex selection body a list of 14 senior IPS officers who have completed 30-years of service.
As per highly placed sources, the UPSC selection panel comprising of its Chairman, Union Home Secretary, incumbent Odisha Chief Secretary and DGP will meet in the third week of this month to finalise the names of the new top cop for Odisha. And by December first week, the State may get its new DGP.
The following are the big guns of Odisha police, who will be on the tables of the UPSC selection committee for picking the next DGP in the State. The names were given as per their seniority.
- IPS Pradeep Kapur - Currently, director of National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and has been on central deputation since 2015.
- IPS Bijay Kumar Sharma - At present is the Director, Printing, Stationery and Publications. He was appointed as acting DGP, before the appointment of incumbent DGP Abhay.
- IPS Sunil Bansal: This 1987 batch IPS officer is currently holding the post of Special Director, Intelligence Bureau. The tenure of the post is up to his superannuation date of June 30, 2022. He has been on central deputation since 1994.
- IPS Manoj Chhabra: Now is the Special Director General of Police, Special Armed Police, Odisha.
- IPS Santosh Upadhaya: At present is the DG, Prisons and Directorate of Correctional Services.
- IPS Binayananda Jha: Holds the position of ADGP and Director, Investigation, OHRC.
- IPS Arun Kumar Ray: Currently, Dy Chairman in Tea Board and has been on Central deputation.
- IPS Pranabindu Acharya: Is the Addl DGP, Railways and Coastal Security, Odisha.
- IPS Amrit Mohan Prasad: Currently is Director, CBI's Economic Offence Zone -II. He had a meritorious stint in Odisha Vigilance. And had outlined the lacunas the State anti-corruption watchdog face.
- IPS B Radhika: Is currently the Dy DG Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The former ADG of Odisha SAP has been on central deputation since 2018.
- IPS Sidartha Narvane: At present ADG, Human Rights Protection Cell in Odisha Police HQ.
- IPS YB Khurania: The former Twin City police commissioner is currently IG BSF. On Central deputation since 2018.
- IPS Sudhanshu Sarangi: The former Twin City police Commissioner who came in the line fo fire of BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty for the initiative of forming all women SPOs. And is currently chairman of Odisha Police Housing and Police Welfare Society.
- IPS Arun Sarangi: Currently the director of Biju Patnaik State Police Academy.
The Front Runners
As per the UPSC's selection procedure, the following are senior IPS who will be the front runners for the hot seat of Odisha DGP.
- IPS Pradeep Kapur
- IPS Bijay Kumar Sharma
- IPS Sunil Bansal
- IPS Manoj Chhabra
Among the 14, they are the senior-most IPS officers in the State. However, there are lots of 'Ifs and Buts' in the top list.
IFs and Buts
- Senior IPS officer Pradeep Kapur, who belongs to Chandigarh, has been away from State since 2016. The chances of him reverting back to the parent cadre (Odisha) seems unlikely.
- Though senior IPS officer BK Sharma fits the UPSC criteria bar, the State had instituted an inquiry over some alleged misappropriation charges. The final probe report is still awaited.
- IPS Sunil Bansal has been appointed SD, IB till his superannuation date. The chances of him joining Odisha police look a distant possibility.
- As per the rule of elimination, IPS Manoj Chhabra will pass the UPSC's top cop test.
The Selection Grades
Given that the country's Apex court has stated that UPSC has to send three names to the State government, the race for next Odisha DGP seems likely to be among the following senior IPS officers.
- IPS Manoj Chhabra
- IPS Santosh Upadhaya
- IPS Binayananda Jha
- IPS Pranabindu Acharya
- IPS Amrit Mohan Prasad
- IPS B Radhika (She has been in NCB for 5-years. Unlikely to revert to Odisha cadre)
- IPS Siddartha Narvane
As per the norms laid down by the country's Supreme Court in Prakash Singh judgement, the race for the top post will be between Manoj Chhabra and Santosh Upadhaya.
Manoj Chhabra is senior to Santosh Upadhaya. He also had a stint in communally sensitive and Naxal hit districts as SPs. A votary of police modernisation, during his stint at the Centre, was appointed as nodal officer in the 2007 UP elections and was awarded the Gold Disc of DG for his deft management. Had a very fruitful stint in the BSF and has the hands-on expertise of the combative ability against the ultras. Known in the police circles as an expert in "stress management", Chhabra was promoted to ADG rank in 2013.
Santosh Upadhaya in police corridors is known for his quote "Better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for all your life", had a stint in the State's anti-graft body Odisha Vigilance. The IPS officer is for segregating the investigation wing from the law and order wing. A votary of e-policing, Upadhaya was the ADG Crime Branch during the period of 2017-2019. And last year was promoted to DG Prison.
The Bottomline: As per observers, it all depends on CM Naveen Patnaik. Because, of the three names suggested by UPSC, the State government has the discretion to pick one. And the discretion here is, with whom the CM's comfort level is high, and that will be the clincher.