West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been at odds with the Mamata Banerjee led state government on many issues, has once again questioned the CM over shielding of IPS officer Gyanwant Singh from an enquiry and promotions effected in his favour by the ruling dispensation.
Taking to Twitter, the WB Governor stated that he has asked the Additional Chief Secretary of Home to make available before him the entire file relating to the enquiry of Shri Gyanwant Singh IPS, ADG (Law & Order) by December 29, 2020.
He questioned as to why, despite the officer being charge-sheeted in view of the findings of the Calcutta High Court, did the Mamata Banerjee government favour him by promoting him to the post of ADG (law and order), a post considered as one of the most important ranks in the Bengal police.
ACS @HomeBengal directed to make available the entire file relating to the enquiry of Shri Gyanwant Singh IPS, ADG (Law & Order) @MamataOfficial & promotions effected in his favour after charge sheet was issued to him in view of the findings of the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court. pic.twitter.com/8cC9ILKcTu— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) December 21, 2020
Dhankhar wrote that he had earlier too sought details of enquiry against IPS Gyanwant Singh from the Mamata Banerjee government, but unfortunately that evoked no response from the ruling dispensation.
Jagdeep Dhankhar questions Mamata Banerjee over shielding IPS Gyanwant Singh
He also shared the observations made by the Calcutta High Court against the IPS officer, who he insinuated was being shielded by the WB chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Observing that Gyanwant Singh had “invaded right to life without authority of law while discharging his duty as a public servant’, and the Calcutta HC “declared that he acted ultra vires and his acts were unconstitutional”, the WB governor also criticised the state government’s lack of response on the matter so far.
Gyanwant Singh’s promotions under Mamata’s regime
Here it may be recalled that last year, West Bengal had observed an unusual and unprecedented spate of reshuffling of the commissioners of the Bidhannagar Police after BJP stormed Banerjee’s Bengal bastion in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Unsure of the loyalties of IPS and IAS officers after BJP made successful inroads, a fearful and jittery Mamata Banerjee, who directly handles the police department as she has retained the home portfolio since becoming the chief minister in 2011, had gone on a spree of shuffling and reshuffling police commissioners, superintendents of police and district magistrates.
As a part of this bizarre IPS posting-and-transfer circus, IPS Gyanwant Singh was appointed as the additional director general (law and order) in May, last year.
Pertinently, in April, the Election Commission removed IPS Gyanwant Singh from the post of Bidhannagar police commissioner, as he is considered close to Mamata Banerjee. The EC had replaced Gyanwant Singh with Natarajan Ramesh Babu, who was in the post until May 25. As soon as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was lifted on May 26, Singh was not only reinstated but was appointed Additional Director General (Law and Order) the very next day.
Gyanwant Singh a close aide of Mamata Banerjee
According to the Home Ministry, Singh is one of the five IPS officers who sat on a dharna with the Chief Minister during the Kolkata police-CBI showdown in February last year. The Union Home Ministry had then issued a notice asking the Bengal government to take action against DGP Virendra of the 1985 IPS batch, ADG Vineet Kumar Vital of the 1994 IPS batch, ADG (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma of the 1991 IPS batch, Bidhan Nagar Commissioner Gyanwant Singh of the 1993 IPS batch, additional commissioner Supratim Sarkar of the 1997 IPS batch. But instead of taking any action against them, Mamata Banerjee had not only reinstated these officers in the force but also promoted them.
When Mamata Banerjee batted against Gyanwant Singh
For the uninitiated, IPS Gyanwant Singh was shunted out of the force in 2007 by the then CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for his alleged intervention in Rizwanur Rahaman’s mysterious death case in October 2007. Singh got posting later, but his promotion was blocked until he got a clean chit in the case. Interestingly, the officer, who is now believed to be a close aide of Mamata Banerjee, had then been vociferously opposed by the latter. Mamata Banerjee, who was the biggest rival of the CPI-M led government in WB in 2007, had led agitations and dharnas, pitching for the immediate arrest of Gyanwant Singh and three other officers who she alleged were involved in the Rizwanur Rahaman’s death case.
However, under Mamata’s rule, IPS Gyanwant Singh was promoted to DIG Murshidabad Range in 2014 and as Additional Director General (Law and Order), another key post, in 2019.