Within days of taking charge as the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel has effected a major bureaucratic reshuffle in the state. Chhattisgarh was perceived as “a state controlled by bureaucrats” under Baghel’s predecessor Raman Singh’s rule.
In a late night announcement on Wednesday, Chhattisgarh’s Director General of Police (DGP) AN Upadhyay was appointed as the Director of Police Housing Corporation and was replaced by 1986 batch IPS officer DM Awasthi as the new DGP.
Chhattisgarh reported large-scale human rights violations with Upadhyay as the DGP. He had given a free hand to controversial officers like former Bastar Inspector General of Police SRP Kalluri, whose tenure in Bastar saw allegations of large-scale fake encounters, fake Maoist surrenders, attacks on human rights activists and arrests of journalists.
Immediately after assuming office on Sunday, Baghel also removed high-profile IPS officer Mukesh Gupta as the Director General of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and attached him to the state police headquarters without any charge.
Awasthi was given the charge of EOW and State Intelligence Bureau.
Gupta was the Additional Director General of Police in charge of state intelligence when a Maoist attack in 2013 had wiped out the top rung of the Congress leadership in the state.
“This is good for the system. Now, there will be only one power centre,” an IPS officer attached to Chhattisgarh police headquarters said on the condition of anonymity.
Aman Singh, a former IRS official, who worked as the principal secretary to Raman Singh and was said to be heading the coterie of officers accused of concentrating power during the BJP regime, had resigned within hours of the party’s rout in the recently concluded assembly elections in the state.
Gaurav Dwivedi, an IAS officer of 1995 batch, has now been posted as the secretary to the Chief Minister’s office.
‘Making the right noises’
Baghel, after taking charge, announced farm loan waiver of Rs 6,100 crore which will benefit over 16 lakh farmers in the state.
Despite being known for his aggressive approach, Baghel has said that the new government would not work vindictively against anyone, but claimed that “those who robbed the state” will not be spared.
“As of now, he is making the right noises. His decisions in the first week have really sent a strong message to the bureaucrats in the state who had grown arrogant under the previous regime,” an editor of a Hindi daily published from Raipur told HuffPost India.
Prabhat Singh, who was one of the four journalists arrested when Kalluri was posted as the Bastar IG, said that it would be interesting to see if Baghel also takes action against Kalluri.
“As the state Congress president, Baghel had demanded arrest of Kalluri. Kalluri is tipped to become the Additional Director General of Police shortly. Let us see what Baghel does with him,” Prabhat Singh added.