Thiruvananthapuram: A red-faced Kerala government on Friday decided to reinstate senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer T.P. Senkumar as state’s director general of police (law and order), on a day the Supreme Court dismissed its clarification petition on his appointment with cost.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan signed the related file on Friday evening and the government order would be issued on Saturday, people aware of the development in his office said.
Senkumar told media persons that he would react only after the order has been issued. Incumbent DGP Loknath Behara is likely to be appointed DGP, vigilance and anti-corruption bureau.
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Senkumar, who is due to retire on 30 June, was removed two days after the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government assumed office on 25 May last year. He had moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), challenging his removal, but his plea was turned down. The Kerala High Court had later upheld the CAT’s verdict. The Supreme Court had, however, on 24 April directed the reinstatement of Senkumar, saying he was transferred by the LDF government “unfairly" and “arbitrarily".
The Supreme court order was widely seen as a setback to the LDF government. The senior IPS officer’s relation with ruling CPI-M was not cordial as he had probed various cases, including the sensational T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case in which CPI(M) cadres were allegedly involved. The chief minister had all along justified Senkumar’s removal, saying that he was not fit for the post.
With the government not taking a decision on the SC order, Senkumar had filed a contempt petition accusing it of “wilful, deliberate disobedience". The Supreme Court earlier on Friday dismissed the Kerala government’s clarification petition and imposed a cost of Rs25,000. It also sought the response of Kerala chief secretary Nalini Netto on the contempt plea.
The Kerala government had defended Senkumar’s removal, saying he had tried to shield erring policemen in last year’s Puttingal temple fire tragedy which left over 100 people dead.
Following the SC’s order, the Congress-led UDF and BJP attacked the government, demanding Vijayan’s resignation and immediate reinstatement of Senkumar. While law minister A.K. Balan said the verdict was not a setback for the government, Panniyan Ravindran, leader of the CPI, a ruling front ally, blamed the government’s decision on the wrong advice of legal experts.
The decision on Senkumar’s reinstatement followed a meeting of the CPI(M)’s state secretariat earlier in the day where the matter was discussed. NDA ‘s Kerala vice chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the apex court’s verdict was yet another “stinging slap" on the Kerala government.