S.S. Virk is new Maharashtra police chief (Lead)

March 14th, 2009 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 13 (IANS) Ending six months of suspense, the Maharashtra government Friday evening appointed senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer S.S. Virk as the state’s director general of police.
Home Minister Jayant Patil made the announcement. Virk, an officer of the 1970 batch, will replace A.N. Roy, whose appointment came under a cloud after it was challenged before various legal authorities.

Patil said that following an order of the Bombay High Court, a high-level committee was appointed for selecting the new DGP from among the eligible officers and Virk was finally selected.

“His name had been sent to the state Chief Electoral Officer for clearance after which the decision was taken,” Minister of State for Home Naseem Khan told IANS shortly after the announcement.

Referring to certain allegations of corruption against the incoming DGP by the Punjab government, Patil asserted that “all the charges have been disproved”.

Patil also said that the Punjab government was unnecessarily pursuing various matters against Virk, but his record had come out clean, paving the way for his appointment.

Roy’s appointment in February 2008 was challenged in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) by another strong contender, Additional DGP S. Chakravorty.

When the CAT ruled in Chakravorty’s favour, the state government challenged that order in the Bombay High Court, where it lost the case. The high court had given time to the state government to announce the new DGP by March 14.

Virk, considered a daredevil officer, brings with him vast experience in handling terrorism during his tenure with the Punjab Police and also his services in Maharashtra in various capacities.

As he prepares to take over as DGP, Virk could create a new record - of having served as police chief in two states - Punjab and Maharashtra.

He also becomes the third Sikh officer to head the state police force. Earlier, late Amarjit Singh Samra and P.S. Pasricha had occupied the post.

During Operation Black Thunder in 1988 in Punjab, then a deputy inspector general of police (DyIG), Virk had sustained a bullet injury on his jaw from an AK-47 rifle while combating terrorists.

Unmindful of the injury, he said he was “fine” and asked his men to continue firing and keep up the pressure on the extremists hiding in the Golden Temple - which was relayed on the wireless.

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