The Election Commission on Thursday appointed IPS officer Suresh Arora as the new state police chief of Punjab.
The incumbent Director General of Police (DGP), Sumedh Singh Saini, will go on leave from Friday.
A 1982 batch Indian Police Service officer, Arora is presently chief director, vigilance.
The Punjab government had sent a panel of three senior police officers to the EC for appointment as the state police chief on Thursday.
Punjab’s additional chief electoral officer (CEO) Supreet Singh Gulati said that the panel consisted of Indian Police Service officer G D Pandey (1981 batch), Sanjeev Gupta and Arora (both 1982 batch).
The poll panel had, earlier this week, ordered the transfer of three deputy commissioners, the police commissioner of Punjab’s largest city Ludhiana and the district police chiefs of Ferozepur, Moga, Fazilka and Mansa districts.
The opposition Congress had last month urged the poll panel to remove Saini based on the number of criminal charges pending against him.
Punjab has 13 Lok Sabha seats which go to polls on April 30.
Saini’s removal means a setback for Akali Dal (Badal) which had opposed orders from the Election Commission on the basis that the DGP had already overseen two major elections during his tenure.
Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira had sought Saini’s removal on the ground that he was chargesheeted in a criminal case in 2006.
Besides, some Congress MPs from the state and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too had said that free and fair elections will not be possible in the state if Saini remained the DGP.