Senior IPS officer Amitabh Thakur, who is locked in a tussle with ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and took his fight to the Centre, was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government.
The suspension with immediate effect came when Thakur, an IG-level officer, approached the Union Home Ministry in Delhi seeking a CBI probe into the rape case filed against him after he lodged a complaint against Mulayam for threatening him.
An official release issued in Lucknow said the state government has suspended Thakur with immediate effect on prima facie charges of dereliction of duty, indiscipline, taking an anti-establishment approach and flouting high court orders.
The release said that during his period of suspension, Thakur will remain attached to the DGP office and not leave the state headuqarters without the DGP's permission.
Reacting to the suspension order, Thakur said he will challenge it in a court of law. "I will bring the matter before the court concerned," he said.
Thakur met Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Anant Kumar Singh and also sought central force protection for himself and his wife and social activist Nutan Thakur.
"Mulayam Singh Yadav had threatened me with dire consequences. So, today I have met the Additional Secretary and sought security for me and my wife by central forces," he told reporters outside the North Block, housing the MHA, in Delhi.
Thakur said a "false" rape case had been slapped against him after he lodged a complaint against the ruling SP supremo in Lucknow on July 10 for threatening him. "I want a CBI investigation into the rape charge against me," he said.
UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is Mulayam's son, saw "nothing wrong" in his father "scolding" a senior IPS officer in the state.
"When Mulayam Singh Yadav can scold the chief minister, there is nothing wrong in his scolding an official," Akhilesh said to pointed questions by newspersons in Farrukhabad.
Another senior UP minister Azam Khan demanded that the charges of rape levelled against Thakur be probed thoroughly.
"He has committed an immoral act and should not be spared," Khan said in Jhansi.
On July 11, an FIR was registered at Gomti Nagar police station in Lucknow against Thakur under sections 376 (rape), 504 (intentional insult) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, on the basis of an earlier complaint by a Ghaziabad-based woman. The IPS officer's wife has been named a co-accused in the FIR.
Terming the allegation of rape as "completely false", Thakur said as per the complaint against him, his wife had helped in the alleged crime and it took place at his home.
"No wife will help her husband to rape a woman. Besides my children also live in my house which is very small. Let the CBI probe the allegation," he said.
"If my demand is not met, I will approach the High Court and seek justice... This is nothing but political conspiracy and harassment against me," he said.
Thakur said Mulayam threatened him after his wife Nutan filed a complaint before the UP Lokayukta against state Mines minister Gayatri Prajapati.
The release issued in Lucknow added that Thakur had been directed by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court not to file RTI applications without the permission of the state administration.
"He, however, not only flouted the court order, but made statements before the media criticising the policies of the government," it said.
"This behaviour of Thakur encouraged indiscipline in the police department and tarnished the image of the administration and the police before the eyes of the people," it claimed.
Thakur was also charged with attending meeting of various organisations without permission, misusing official funds, misguiding people, arbitrariness, making comments in public against Mahatma Gandhi, sitting on dharna before the state police headquarters, it added.
Thakur said the action against him was not unexpected.
"It was not unexpected... I will approach the court against the suspension," he said.
The IPS officer said he would first give a representation to the Union Home Ministry and then move court if needed.
He said he was expecting some kind of departmental action from the day he raised the issue of being threatened by the SP supremo and went to register an FIR in that regard.
He said that in comparison to the rape case, "this punishment (suspension) was very small".
Thakur also rejected the charge that he had flouted service rules. Criticism of government and criticism of an individual are two different things, he said.
He also claimed that the government did not inform him about his suspension and he got to know of it through media reports.