PP Pandey is in-charge DGP
PP Pandey (left) and DG Vanzara (right) are accused in Ishrat fake encounter case

Senior IPS officer P P Pandey on Saturday took over as in-charge DGP of Gujarat following the unexpected transfer of incumbent P C Thakur to Delhi. The appointment of the Anti-Corruption Bureau director as interim DGP and Thakur’s brusque transfer is likely to renew the tussle between Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and national BJP chief Amit Shah. The Gujarat government had late on Friday issued a notification to relieve Thakur and gave the charge to Pandey. Sources claimed that Shah wants Pandey, who is close to him, to be appointed as state DGP while the CM is keen on appointing Geeta Johri as the first woman DGP of the state. According to sources in the BJP, Anandiben had her way by keeping the general secretaries in state BJP intact, despite state BJP chief Vijay Rupani — believed to be Amit Shah’s choice for the post — keen on replacing them with leaders of his choice.

Anandiben also managed to get IAS officers of her choice on important posts while Amit Shah’s word carries a lot of weight when it comes to IPS appointments. Pandey, who is out on bail in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others, had spent around 18 months in jail. The case is at present pending before a local court but he was taken back in the service after four days of his release on bail on February 5, 2015. Speculations are rife on whether the state government will make a permanent appointment on the post of DGP or will continue with Pandey as in-charge DGP. Sources claimed that Amit Shah’s camp has been arguing that while Pandey is a charge-sheeted officer in the Ishrat Jahan case, the state had in the past appointed a DGP who had been convicted.

Pandey retires in February 2017 while Geeta Johri’s retirement is in November 2017. At a time when the state is going to election, the CM would certainly want to have a DGP of her choice especially since all crucial intelligence inputs and information including the mood of voters and leaders who hold sway comes in through the state intelligence and the state police. Shah, who was earlier Gujarat’s minister of state for home, on the other hand may not be too comfortable with Geeta Johri as DGP as he was unhappy with the way she conducted the inquiry into the Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case, according to sources. According to sources, Anandiben may be reluctant to appoint Pramod Kumar as DGP because the intelligence bureau he heads did not seem to have necessary inputs in the Patidar agitation which eventually grew out of control.