Chandigarh administration cuts short SSP Kuldeep Chahal’s tenure by 10 months

In an unprecedented move, the Chandigarh administration has repatriated senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Chahal to Punjab, his parent cadre, even as he had 10 more months left of his three-year tenure.

The UT notified his repatriation late Monday evening stating that he had been relieved on Monday afternoon and charge has been given to SSP (traffic) Manisha Chaudhary.

The reasons for his repatriation have not been made public. The notification also does not spell out reasons for the same. The order of repatriation has been issued by UT administrator Banwarilal Purohit, who is also the governor of Punjab.

The adviser to administrator, Dharam Pal, and the director general of police (DGP), Praveer Ranjan could not be reached for comments despite several attempts. Even other lower-rung officers’ phones went silent.

Conventionally, the post of the SSP is held by a Punjab cadre officer. For deputation posts from Punjab and Haryana, the names are sought by the administration from respective states and after consideration forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which finally issues notification of appointment. It is immediately not clear whether the Centre was consulted on the move.

According to Punjab home department officials, a few days ago, an unofficial information was sought requesting repatriation of the IPS officer into Punjab cadre but it was not allowed as the UT administration failed to give reasons behind their request.

“We have not been informed officially on the issue before by the UT administration. It’s unprecedented for us as well. Generally, we are asked to send the panel of three officers to the MHA from the Punjab cadre to appoint one as the SSP,” said the official.

Chahal, who joined the police force as an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) in the Chandigarh police and later became an IPS officer in 2009, was posted as Chandigarh SSP on September 29, 2020, on inter-cadre deputation. His appointment was notified by the Centre for three years.

Many in the police circles were unaware of the development till the time of the notification and termed the move unprecedented. Only reason some officers could give was that “he was having coordination problems with officers coming directly from Delhi”.

Chahal remained unavailable for comments.

Chahal, a 2009-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, had replaced Nilambari Vijay Jagadale, the first woman SSP of the city, who had joined in 2017. Before being appointed as the SSP, Chandigarh, Chahal remained Mohali SSP, another plum posting during the Congress tenure.