(Adding detail) Patna, Sep 23 (PTI) Former Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey, who has taken voluntary retirement from service, on Wednesday kept his cards close to the chest,dismissing speculations that his sudden decision to take VRS was prompted by plans to enter electoral politics.
Pandey quit the service five months before his retirement in February 2021.
His request for VRS was approved by Governor Phagu Chauhan, a notification issued by the home department said late Tuesday evening.
After Pandey, Director General of Homeguards and Fire services, Sanjiv Kumar Singhal, has been given additional charge of the DGP.
Pandey, who was appointed as Bihar police chief in January 2019, however expressed distress and indignation over a flurry of recent media reports which had sought to link his outspokenness in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case to purported political ambitions.
The former DGP had been in the headlines for his stout defence of Nitish Kumar government when it was under attack from the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra for pro-actively taking the actor's death by suicide case following registration of an FIR by his father KK Singh in Patna.
When reminded that the Shiv Sena had attributed his active role in Rajput's death case to his political inclinations, Pandey said 'they keep saying many things, I don't give much credence to it.' Pandey said his VRS should not be linked with the Rajput case as the decision has nothing to do with the case.
'I have spent more than three decades in service and nobody can raise a finger on my professional integrity. But, in the recent past, thousands of calls and messages seeking to know when I am entering politics, which party I am planning to join.....left me exasperated', Pandey said.
To a specific query as to whether he would contest Lok Sabha or Assembly polls due in October-November, Pandey shot back 'I have not yet said I am going to contest any election'.
In reply to another question whether he would contest by- poll from Valmikinagar Parliamentary seat, the ex-DGP said he would contest the 'Lok Sabha election' if he considers himself fit and able enough to do so.
Valmikinagar seat fell vacant due to death of sitting member Baidyanath Mahto of JD(U) in February last.
Born in 1961 in Geruabandh village in Buxar,Pandey did his graduation in Sanskrit from Patna University. He also gave his UPSC exam in Sanskrit.
In his first attempt, he managed to clear the UPSC exam.
However, he became an IPS in his second attempt in 1987.
'I have neither joined any political party nor I am a political person till now. When I join (party), I will tell all of you Politics is not the only way of serving society.
One can work for the society even without joining politics in different ways, he said.
He, however, said 'I am now a free citizen of India like you (pointing towards media persons). I am no longer DGP, so no service rules, statute apply to me anymore.Thousands of people are coming from Buxar, Begusarai, Jehanabad, Aurangabad and other districts I will take a decision after talking to them.
Notably, Pandey had taken premature retirement to contest Lok Sabha elections in 2009, but later the government reinstated him in the police service after nine months of his taking VRS.
As per media reports, Pandey may contest as an NDA candidate from Shahpur assembly constituency in native Buxar or may be fielded as JD(U) candidate for Valmikinagar Lok Sabha by-poll because of his proximity to Kumar, who also heads JD(U).
He is said to have impressed Kumar by launching a movement in support of prohibition which the state government had enforced in the state in April 2016.
Asked to comment on Kumar, the former police chief said 'only one thing that I can say about Nitish Kumar jee is that he is a very strict person vis--vis matters relating to administration and policing. He neither tolerates political interference in policing nor does he likes that ruling party leaders or workers interfere in such matters.
After the Supreme Court endorsed the CBI investigation recommended by the Bihar government, Pandey, as police chief, had bragged that Rajput's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty 'does not have the aukat (stature)' to comment on the chief minister.
Pandey Wednesday defended his comment, saying 'one who is an accused in the case and named in an FIR for hatching conspiracy to kill Sushant Singh Rajput has no right to make any comment on any person who is occupying a constitutional post. I had said this in that context only.
The ruling JD(U) chose not to speak anything on Pandeys VRS and his possible future action of contesting Lok Sabha or assembly polls in the state.
JD(U) ally BJP, however, said every one has right to lead a social and political life in a democratic set up.
'Gupteshwar Pandey jee had joined the service on his own sweet will and has opted for VRS too. There is no scope left for political party to make any suggestion in this regard. He has every right to choose a political party or ideology he wants to pursue.' state BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said. PTI AR SNS SNS