Challenges ahead for police after CM rebuke

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik giving a dressing-down to director-general of police (DGP) Sanjeev Marik over the latter’s failure to maintain dignity of his position has sent a tremor in the power corridors, which is now abuzz whether the top cop will be able to retain the post. A series of incidents in the recent past has also tarnished the image of the State police supplying enough fodder to the issue.

Though Marik is attaining superannuation in December and there is less chance of Odisha getting a top cop for a short period, incidents like false graft case against his predecessor Prakash Mishra in which the High Court pulled up the Vigilance director for trying to implicate Mishra in the case, have prompted political analysts to think otherwise.

“It all depends on the chief minister as he has the discretionary powers,” said one of the observers on condition of anonymity.

More so, after Mishra’s graft case was quashed on the ground of lack of evidence, the State police department is in dire need of a major facelift.

In its verdict, the HC has said, “It is the duty of the State to track down and punish all delinquent officers but it is certainly not in accordance with justice and fair play that their conviction should be sought for by such questionable means which is bound to cause incalculable harm and damage to the officers concerned.”

Secondly, the court too criticized the Vigilance director for failing to exercise his powers. The judgment further read, “…the entire action of the Vigilance authorities smacks of arbitrary and mala fide exercise of power with the oblique motive to harass the petitioners and damage their reputation.”

Besides, in the wake of week-long bandh call by Naxalites in Malkangiri and Koraput districts, the State police are on their toes in the absence of an officer of distinction to handle any untoward situation. Though security has been tightened in these two districts, a cloud of uncertainty is still prevailing as who will lead the operation in adverse circumstances as a couple of top officers have been moved out to serve elsewhere.

In such a situation, the State police are facing enormous challenges in achieving the twin objectives of maintaining law and order effectively as well as refurbishing its sagging image.