Veerappan ghost returns to haunt Shankar Bidari

The ghost of forest brigand Veerappan, who was killed in a police encounter seven-and-half years ago, came to haunt Shankar Bidari by threatening his coveted position of the Director General of Police and the Inspector General of Police of Karnataka.

Shankar Bidari

Bidari’s alleged crackdown against the forest brigand and his gang should be blamed for the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order on Friday, which set aside his appointment as the DGP and the IGP of the State and ordered the government to appoint another top police brass A R Infant as the Ad-hoc DGP.

Bidari was reportedly leading the operation against Veerappan on the Karnataka side and had spread the police network all over Veerappan’s area of operation. It was later alleged that the policemen committed serious offences while tracing the whereabouts of the brigand. In the intelligence gathering methodologies, the policemen are alleged to have resorted to fake encounters and torture, said sources.

As the voices of alleged human rights violations by the police grew stronger, the National Human Rights Commission set up Justice Sadashivaiah Commission to probe the complaints. During the inquiry, the commission found substance in the complaints and passed some stern orders. It is not known whether the Commission directly indicted Bidari, but the IPS officer denied having been fixed in the NHRC report.

The NHRC findings proved to be one of the grounds for the Division Bench of the CAT to call Bidari’s appointment as “void, arbitrary and the State government deliberately withheld relevant materials which would show some blemish.”

Options before Bidari

Commenting on this case, legal luminaries said the government alone has the option to challenge the case in the High Court.

Bidari can challenge the order in the competent court but that will not affect the course of government. The biggest hurdle coming in the way of Bidari is the lawyers’ strike. As the order came on Friday, he can file a petition challenging the CAT order only on Monday.

There is every likelihood of Infant filing a caveat in the High Court which means that his contention should be heard before admitting Bidari’s petition.

Interestingly, both the IPS officers are retiring in May this year. Even if Infant continues as the DGP, possibilities are there he may retire as ad hoc DGP and IGP.

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