Fourteen potential contenders in fray to replace outgoing Odisha DGP

Incumbent Odisha DGP Abhay is all set to retire on December 31. Therefore, the state government has forwarded a list of 14 senior IPS officers who have completed 30 years in service to the UPSC. The name of the new DGP would likely be announced in the first week of December.

Current DGP

The 1986-batch IPS officer, Abhay, was appointed as the director-general of police (DGP) in 2019. Prior to this, he was on central deputation as the director of the National Police Academy. Although he was scheduled for retirement on June 21, his service tenure was extended by six months after the apex court’s directive of a two-year tenure for DGPs. In his two-year tenure as the head of the police services in the state, the Odisha Police has managed to bring left-wing extremism under control and limit rebel presence to three districts in the state.

Possible contenders

While the state has forwarded a list of 14 contenders for the post, the top three candidates likely to make the cut are Manoj Chhabra, Santosh Upadhyay and Pradeep Kaur. Abhay’s 1986 batchmate, Kaur, currently serves as the director of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and has been on central deputation since 2015.

Santosh Upadhyay, a 1988-batch IPS officer and currently serving as DG Prisons, is also one of the forerunners. Upadhyay has earlier headed the state vigilance department and the state crime branch.

Chhabra, also from the 1988 batch, has served across the Naxal-hit districts of the state. On central deputation, he has also served in the BSF and has hands-on experience in combating the ultras. Chhabra was promoted to ADG rank in 2013.

Area of concern

For the next head of police services in the state, the major area of concern will be women’s safety. The state government and the state police have received criticisms over recent cases of crime against women.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 25,489 cases of crime against women were registered in the state in 2020 as compared to 23,183 cases in 2019. The state reported 1,211 cases of rape in 2020 against 1,382 in the previous year. Going by the NCRB report, Odisha with 113 offences per 1 lakh population is only second to Assam in the rate of crime against women.

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