A woman as Delhi Police commissioner?

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) With Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar set to retire end-July, a replacement is being actively sought and three names – including of two women – are doing the rounds.

Neeraj Kumar, a 1976 batch Indian Police Service officer of the AGMU (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) cadre, had taken charge as Delhi Police commissioner from B.K. Gupta on July 1 last year.

The three names doing the rounds for the post are B.S. Bassi, the seniormost IPS officer after Neeraj Kumar, and two women IPS officers – Kanwaljit Deol and Vimla Mehra, highly placed sources told IANS.

Bassi is posted as Special Commissioner of Police (Administration), Kanwaljit Deol is posted as Director General (Investigation) at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Vimla Mehra is Director General (Prisons).

Bassi, a 1977 batch IPS officer of the AGMUT cadre, is the frontrunner for the post. He was previously Special Commissioner (Traffic).

Sources say he might be given the baton as he is the seniormost. Bassi, 57, successfully served as special commissioner (Vigilance), joint commissioner (Southern Range) and additional commissioner (Northern Range) of Delhi Police.

Kanwaljit Deol is the second most senior officer. A 1977 batch officer, Deol is presently on deputation to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). She is to retire on Oct 31, 2014. She was appointed as Director General of Police in Arunachal Pradesh in July 2010.

Though transfers and postings depend on seniority, the government may bypass this and give the charge to a woman officer, sources told IANS.

Vimla Mehra, a 1978-batch officer of the AGMUT, took over as Director General of Tihar Prisons from Neerraj Kumar in August 2012, pipping a male contender to the job. Prior to this, Mehra, 56, was special commissioner (security).

Mehra is the second woman officer, after IPS officer and social activist Kiran Bedi, to head Tihar.

Neeraj Kumar’s tenure as Delhi’s top cop was beset with troubles. The Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young woman and the police mishandling of the mass protests dented the force’s image. Kumar faced the ire of the public and was also criticized by the Delhi government for initial inaction in the case.

The rape of a five-year-old girl in April and the police’s callous handling of the case again fetched brickbats for the police chief. Protesters reached the police headquarters to demand his resignation over two officers allegedly offering Rs.2,000 bribe to the girl’s poor parents to hush up the rape. Neerraj Kumar held a press conference and ruled out his resignation.

(Alok Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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