//Gujarat police chief's appointment challenged

Gujarat police chief's appointment challenged

[ Tuesday, May 02, 2006 08:13:33 pmIANS ]

NEW DELHI: The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a civil rights organisation, has moved the Supreme Court questioning the appointment of P.C. Pande, who was Ahmedabad's police commissioner during the 2002 communal violence, as Gujarat's police chief.

CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad, in a public interest petition, criticised the state government for appointing Pande as the director general of police stating that during his tenure as police commissioner, more than 700 people had died in Ahmedabad.

It had been established by various independent tribunals and fact-finding bodies that Pande was at least partially responsible for allowing the communal violence to worsen, she said.

Pande had visited eastern Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society – where 34 people including former MP Ehsan Jafri were killed in March 2002, and assured police protection to the residents there, but turned a blind eye when a mob attacked the neighbourhood, Setalwad said in the petition.

Even after the carnage, police had failed in registering proper complaints and arresting the culprits, she said.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had concluded that police were subverting investigations into communal clashes and recommended that investigations be taken out of the hands of the state police and be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the petition noted.

Three of the seven cases for which NHRC had made that recommendation related to incidents Ahmedabad.

Contending that Pande was guilty of gross dereliction of duty and had violated various provisions of the service rules, the petitioner sought a direction to quash his new appointment and to direct the central and the state governments to take disciplinary action against him and to prosecute him for having failed in his duties.

The state government last week appointed Pande as director general of police following the outgoing police chief A.K. Bhargava's retirement.