DGP Rao sent on leave, DIG Roopa shunted to traffic

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Karnataka DIG Roopa

BENGALURU: Putting an end to the fierce internecine slugfest between IPS officers in the prisons department, chief minister Siddaramaiah shunted out director general of police (prisons) H N Sathyanarayana Rao and deputy inspector general (prisons) D Roopa on Monday, ahead of a formal inquiry into corruption allegations, including special treatment to jailed AIADMK chief V K Sasikala.

While Rao, who is due for retirement this month-end, has been directed to go on leave, Roopa has been posted as commissioner for traffic and road safety, a not-so-coveted post. The government shunted out Krishnakumar, chief superintendent of Parappana Agrahara central jail, after allegations that jail staff were destroying proof, and silencing inmates in a bid to disprove Roopa’s report.

Roopa’s report had triggered a storm by pointing to speculation that jail personnel, including Rao, had been paid Rs 2 crore as bribe to extend preferential treatment to Sasikala. She had exposed how jailed fake stamp paper racket kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi was leading a life of luxury, and the rampant drug menace inside the prison. These allegations were refuted by jail personnel, including Rao. Though the government announced an inquiry by retired IAS officer Vinay Kumar, the officers continued their blame-game in full public glare.

With their duel threatening to cause more embarrassment to Siddaramaiah, who also holds the home portfolio, transfer orders were issued to two officers on Monday noon. But the decision caused an uproar, with the BJP and social media criticizing the government for transferring Roopa. While a section of tweeple expressed solidarity with Roopa for daring to expose the scams in the prisons department, another section slammed Siddaramaiah’s decision to transfer her.

Siddaramaiah, however, issued a statement explaining the circumstances under which the transfer orders were effected. “The public conduct after the DIG’s first report, and despite the immediate institution of inquiry, have not been in the spirit of officers abiding by service rules and protocol. Despite the inquiry being in process, DIG (prisons) D Roopa and her senior, DGP (prisons) Rao, went to the media to discuss the case. The interaction of both police officers with the media during the course of inquiry was unwarranted and amounted to serious violation of service conduct rules. The subsequent visit by the two officers to Parappana Agrahara central prison witnessed disturbance emerging in the jail premises,” the statement said.

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