22 January 2020
Bhubaneswar: Two months have passed since senior IPS officer and former Director-General of Police Bijay Kumar Sharma came under the scanner for an alleged irregularity in the Fire Services Department, which he was heading. On 21st November 2019, the State Government ordered an inquiry, designating three senior-most officials, Chief Secretary, Development Commissioner and Home Secretary to probe into the matter.
The matter in question was about an 'inordinate delay' in fire clearance certificate to a city-based mall, for which Sharma, being head of Fire Services was held accountable. He was shunted from dual posts of DGP Odisha and Director General Fire Services, and posted in the Home Department as Officer on Special Duty. Since then, little has been known on the status of this high-level inquiry.
What would be the fate of Sharma, a 1985-batch IPS officer? Whether he comes out clean or is held responsible for the alleged irregularity, will all depend on the inquiry report. OMMCOM NEWS contacted retired police officials and senior lawyers on this matter. Most of them were of the view that ‘such’ inquiries do not take a long time for completion.
A lot of document verification, analysis, evidence and questioning goes into an inquiry. However, it has been seen that when administrative officials lead an inquiry, the report is tabled sooner, than in the case of judicial ones, former Odisha DGP BB Mishra said.
"In this case, there are some nitty-gritties involved. Though deadlines are set for inquiries, submission of the final report takes longer. But I believe, the report in this matter will be tabled very soon," added Mishra.
A senior lawyer said that the Government sets a timeline for every inquiry it orders, depending on the nature of the case. In this case, he said, some sittings would have been already completed. But not much can be known unless the stakeholders reveal anything substantial.
“An inquiry involves several sittings, the first being 'confirmation'. Evidence will be presented in the second sitting, and then a show-cause notice is served. This will be followed by a clarification from the defendant,” he added.
“If the committee's report is against the defendant, the State Government will initiate action. Punitive action in case of IAS or IPS officer impacts their CCR. The action may be a penalty, demotion or an insignificant posting with the same rank,” the lawyer added.