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Controversial IPS officer skips Republic Day function in snub to Punjab Governor

Left to Right: Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Secretary V K Janjua and DGP Gaurav Yadav, at the flag hoisting function on Republic Day, in Jalandhar.

Chandigarh: Controversial IPS officer Kuldip Singh Chahal, former SSP of Chandigarh, seems to have deliberately absented himself from a state-level Republic Day function at Jalandhar presided over by the Punjab Governor, raising eyebrows in official circles.

Chahal was prematurely repatriated to Punjab from the post of SSP Chandigarh by the UT Administrator-cum-Governor Punjab on the “authentic” charge of “serious misconduct.”  This has caused a lot of heartburn to the IPS officer.

While Punjab Chief Secretary, V.K. Janjua  and Director General of Police, Gaurav Yadav (DGP) attended the Republic Day function presided by the Punjab Governor in Jalandhar, Chahal proceeded on a two-day casual leave citing personal reasons. He was promoted to the rank of DIG and appointed as Commissioner of Police (CP), Jalandhar, on January 22, 2023.

When contacted Chahal told indianarrative.com that he had some urgent personal work for which he took leave i.e. for January 25 and 26, adding that the charge of CP was with the link officer, the IG of the range.

A senior serving police officer maintains that the leave sanctioning authority is not empowered to deny casual leave. Taking casual leave is the right of an employee. The Supreme Court has in various judgments, laid down that the leave sanctioning authority is not empowered to deny casual leave application, he said.

The other view expressed by a senior retired officer is that casual leave is not a right of the employee but is a privilege. The government, if it feels the need, could deny or even cancel the sanctioned leave at any time.

“If leave cannot be denied then where is the need to sanction it? A simple application should be enough. When it is said that the leave sanctioning authority has allowed the application, it implies that the same authority is empowered to disallow it,” explains the officer.

However, it is common knowledge there is no love lost between Governor Banwari Lal Purohit and Kuldip Singh Chahal. Taking leave by Chahal on an a day of national importance like January 26 gave an impression that the officer deliberately proceeded on leave to avoid facing and saluting the Governor.

The Governor’s Principal Secretary, Rakhi Gupta IAS, did not respond to queries sent to her by this correspondent about whether the Governor found Chahal’s conduct reasonable and justified.

The other query that went unanswered was whether an inquiry had been ordered by the UT Administration into the “serious misconduct” by Chahal, for which he was unceremoniously shunted out of Chandigarh.

Sources say that to date, no inquiry had been ordered into the controversy that brought Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and UT Administrator-cum-Governor Punjab Banwarilal Purohit into a confrontation at that point.