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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: With the Lokayukta selection panel proposing name of Director General of Police (DGP) RP Sharma for membership of Lokayukta, the State’s top anti-corruption watchdog, speculations have now begun over change of guard in the top post of Odisha police.

According to experts, if such a proposal comes into effect, it will be the first instance in the State when a top official from DG rank moves to a constitutional post.

Sources said, after Sharma’s consent, the Lokayulta selection committee has already suggested his name for the five-member Lokayukta panel to be headed by former Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court Ajit Singh. Talks are doing rounds that Sharma may take voluntary retirement from service (VRS) at any moment.

However, as per the police service rules, the DGP has to give one-month notice period while informing his decision to quit the service. The new development has fuelled speculations as to who will be the next DG In-charge or will the State government make a permanent appointment.

As per the new Supreme Court guidelines, the State government will have to submit a list of qualified officers to the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) for shortlisting of three candidates.

The State government will thereafter have to choose one of the three suggested names and appoint him as the Police DG.

Speculations are rife that Odisha government might appoint an officer of the 1986 or 1987 batch IPS as the new DGP. Names of several top police officials including State’s current Fire Services DG BK Sharma are being considered as front-runners for the post.

The list of probable candidates include 1986 batch Odisha cadre IPS officer Sri Abhaya, who is currently on central deputation at National Police Academy in Hyderabad, Director of National Technical Research Organisation, Pradeep Kapoor, and DG of Fire Services & Civil Defence, M Nageswar Rao.

Similarly, some other officers like 1987 batch IPS and Director Intelligence and Special DG Sunil Roy, Surendra Panwar and Sunil Kumar Bansal’s name are also doing the rounds for the State’s top cop post.

Former Odisha DGP SN Tiwari has said that selection of the top cop post is purely based on merit and an officer who is junior can also be appointed as the DG if he or she has necessary qualifications and success.

Meanwhile, the speculations over inclusion of RP Sharma in Lokayukta have raised many eyebrows.

Questioning the move, senior lawyer Manas Mohapatra said, “If a person who is directly involved in the State government machinery is appointed as member of the Lokayukta, it will be interesting to see whether he will be able to live up to the expectations of the people or will act as per the wishes of government.”

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