Infant is Karnataka top cop (Lead)

March 31st, 2012 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 31 (IANS) The Karnataka government Saturday appointed Abdul Rehman Infant as the state’s new police chief, shunting out incumbent Shankar Bidari to the Karnataka State Police Housing Board.

The shuffle of the top police brass came a day after a division bench of the Karnataka High Court Friday upheld the March 16 order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) quashing the appointment of Bidari and directing the state government to appoint Infant to the top post.

At a hurriedly convened function here, Bidari handed over the ceremonial baton to Infant and stepped down from the top post four months after he assumed office Nov 30, 2011.

Though Bidari Friday asserted that he would petition the Supreme Court against the high court order, the state government had decided to comply with the CAT directive to appoint Infant to the top post.

“We bow to the high court order. Infant will take over as DGP and IGP. But we will petition the Supreme Court as the issue also involves the right of the government to appoint the police chief,” state Home Minister R. Ashoka told reporters.

As a 1977 Indian Police Service (IPS) batch officer, Infant challenged Bidari’s appointment to the top post on seniority as the latter is from the 1978 batch.

Infant and Bidari are, however, due for retirement May 31, 2012.

In upholding the CAT order, the division bench headed by Justice N. Kumar and Justice H.S. Kempanna took exception to Bidari’s appointment to the top post in view of the alleged atrocities on women and tribals by police teams headed by him (Bidari) during their hunt for late brigand Veerappan during the mid-nineties in the forest areas bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Slamming Bidari over the atrocities, the bench said if the charges by the victims were true, then he was worse than (former Iraqi president) Saddam Hussain and (former Libyan president) Muammar Gaddafi.

“Though he was not one of them, if what the two women (tribals) have said in their affidavit is true, he is worse than them (Saddam Hussain and Muammar Gadaffi),” the judges observed.

They said Bidari should be relieved immediately and Infant be appointed to the post “if the state has any respect for rule of law, womanhood, human rights, tribals, concern for the downtrodden, and the socially backward”.

Bidari was deputy commander of the joint Special Task Force (STF) set up the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to nab the elusive elephant poacher and sandalwood smuggler Veerappan who operated in the forests across the two states for over two decades.

The bandit was shot dead by Tamil Nadu police Oct 19, 2004 in the jungles of Dharmpuri district.

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