SC sets aside HC Order for Removal of IPS Officer Sanjay Kundu as Himachal DGP

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Himachal Pradesh High Court order to remove senior IPS officer Sanjay Kundu from the post of state DGP over allegations that he tried to pressure a businessman who claimed to have received a threat to his life from his partners.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud passed the order while hearing Kundu’s plea challenging the January 9 order of the high court which had dismissed his petition for recall of the earlier direction to remove him from the post of Director General of Police (DGP).

“However, at this stage, it would be inappropriate to maintain the order of the high court directing that the petitioner (Kundu) be shifted out of the post of DGP in pursuance of the earlier order dated December 26, 2023, which stands affirmed on the dismissal of the recall application,” said the bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

The apex court, while setting aside the high court’s direction to remove him from the post of DGP, directed that Kundu shall exercise no control whatsoever in respect of the probe which is to be carried out in the matter by an special investigation team (SIT) consisting of an IG-level officer.

The bench directed the state government to constitute the SIT.

On January 9, in a setback to Kundu and Kangra Superintendent of Police (SP) Shalini Agnihotri, the high court had dismissed their petition to recall its order of December 26, 2023, that directed their transfer so that they don’t influence the probe in the case.

The high court had also turned down their request for a CBI probe.

Disapproving of the conduct of the two officers, the high court had said the “attempt of the DGP to settle the dispute seems to be a colourable exercise of his power and authority prima facie”.

It had also observed there was “prima facie dereliction of duty” on Agnihotri’s part.

On January 3, the top court had stayed the order asking the state government to remove him from the post of the DGP and asked him to file a recall application before the high court.

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