Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday questioned the decision to hand over the Chandigarh SSP's charge to a Haryana-cadre IPS officer following the premature repatriation of the Punjab-cadre officer from the post. Kuldeep Singh Chahal, a 2009-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was repatriated to Punjab -- his parent cadre -- on Monday even though he still had 10 months remaining in his three-year tenure in the Union Territory.
He joined as Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in October 2020. Under the norms, the post of Chandigarh SSP (Law and Order) is reserved for a Punjab-cadre IPS officer while the SSP (Traffic) position is held by a Haryana-cadre officer. The order to repatriate Chahal was issued by Union Territory Administrator Banwarilal Purohit, who is also the Punjab governor.
According to the relieving order issued on Monday, "The Administrator, Chandigarh, is pleased to relieve Kuldeep Singh Chahal, senior superintendent of police, from the Chandigarh administration/police with immediate effect to enable him to join a new assignment with the government of Punjab." The charge was then handed over to SSP (Traffic) Manisha Chaudhary, a Haryana-cadre officer.
Mann on Tuesday shot off a letter to Purohit, expressing surprise over Chahal's premature repatriation and handing over the charge to a Haryana-cadre officer. "As you are aware, the post of senior superintendent of police, Union Territory, Chandigarh, has traditionally been occupied by a Punjab-cadre IPS officer and that of Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, by a Haryana-cadre IAS officer. However, I am surprised to learn that Kuldeep Singh Chahal has been repatriated to Punjab prematurely and the charge of this post has been given to a Haryana-cadre IPS officer.
"This is going to disturb the balance among the states in running the affairs of UT, Chandigarh," Mann said in his letter. The development comes after a recent squabble between the Raj Bhavan and the AAP government in Punjab over holding a special session of the Assembly and the appointment of the Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor.
In his letter, Mann also pointed out that if Chahal was to be repatriated, a panel of Punjab-cadre IPS officers should have been sought from the state to fill the post. "If for some reason, Kuldeep Singh Chahal, IPS, was to be repatriated, a panel of suitable IPS officers should have been sought from Punjab well in advance. "Shortly, we will be sending a panel of three IPS officers of Punjab cadre for the post of SSP, Chandigarh. I hope that you will get an IPS officer of Punjab cadre appointed as SSP, Chandigarh at the earliest," Mann wrote.