Anomalies in Promotion

DIG Pokharel’s promotion to become sole IGP candidate sparks fresh debate about political interference in police organization

Published On: December 1, 2020 01:42 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 1: As the promotion committee has recommended promoting Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Bishwa Raj Pokharel to the post of Additional Inspector General, the race to become the next chief of the Nepal Police has come to an end as Pokharel will be the sole contender for the next police chief.

A meeting of the promotion committee led by Home Secretary Maheshwar Neupane on Monday decided to recommend DIG Pokharel to the post of AIG, paving the way for Pokharel to become the 29th Inspector General of the Nepal Police.

As three incumbent AIGs will retire along with the current Police Chief Shailesh Thapa Kshetri, Pokharel will be the sole contender to become the top cop of the country.

High-ranking police officials have expressed dissatisfaction over the move of the government to create an additional post of AIG to help Pokharel secure the post of next top cop after May, 2022.  “The organization did not ask for the new AIG post. Even the Home Ministry was unaware that the government is adding the post of AIG. We can imagine how politicians are pushing the entire police organization into the quagmire of dirty politics,” a high-ranking police officer, told Republica.

Recently, the government decided to increase the quota of DIGs to 19, up from the existing 14. The number of AIGs was increased to five including one from the technical quota. “The government has increased the quota of AIG to make Pokharel the next chief of the police. How can the additional quota be justified when there has been no such demand from the Nepal Police and even from the Home Ministry?” said the official, adding that even the IGP Kshetri was put in tremendous pressure by the government to recommend Pokharel for the post of AIG.

DIG Pokharel, who is the chief of the Metropolitan Police Office in Ranipokhari, is a relative of Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokharel. “Even the batch mates of IGP Kshetri are working as Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) and DIGs. How can this recommendation be justified?” questioned the official, accusing the government of breaking the chain of command in the Nepal Police.

“Seniority matters in an organization like Nepal Police. But the government itself is making the organization weaker,” another Nepal Police official told Republica.

DIG Pokharel was in the race to become the AIG last time too, but IGP Kshetri denied his promotion on the basis of seniority. “But this time, IGP Kshetri could not withstand the pressure from the Deputy Prime Minister [Pokharel]. And the government increased an additional quota of DIGs and an AIG without conducting proper O&M Survey,” claimed the official, asking not to be named.

According to former DIG Hemant Malla, the government has increased the quota of DIGs and an AIG even as there was no demand from the Nepal Police. “I do not want to comment on Pokharel, but the government has always increased and decreased the quota as per the vested interests of politicians. When chain of command is broken in Nepal Police, officials are demotivated and they do not work independently.”

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