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3 IPS officers in dock for faking role in encounter

"Charge memos" have been issued to three IPS officers of Andhra Pradesh, including one additional director general of police, for alleg
edly faking their role in a Naxalite encounter case and obtaining gallantary awards based on these misrepresentations.

The Andhra Pradesh government had issued the memos last week on the directives of the Union government, which examined the matter following a representation from IPS officers of the state in 2004.The officers, who have been issued the memos, are 1977 batch IPS officer A Sivashankar, who was once the right-hand man of the then chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, 1982 batch officer Shriram Tiwari and 1992 batch officer Nalin Prabhat.

All the three officers were awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) by the Union government India between 2002 and 2003, but other IPS officers from the state complained that these "gallant" officers were not present at the encounter site.One of the officers was on leave on that day on account of the wedding of his daughter, whereas a helicopter log book showed that another of them was elsewhere, it has been claimed.

Three central committee members of a Maoist group were killed in an encounter in Karimnagar district in the Telangana region in December 1999, but the charge memo refers to the fact that the "gallant trio" was not physically present.The encounter, which had been much in the news those days, was questioned by civil liberty groups, which contended that the central committee members had been picked up by cops in Bangalore and killed in cold blood in the so-called encounter.

Obtaining gallantry awards based on false representation makes officers liable for serious disciplinary action. This includes reduction of rank or pay, or stoppage of increments besides stripping them off the medals. If found guilty, the officers can be prosecuted too. "A gallantry award entitles a cop to goodies worth Rs 3 crore and therefore can be seen as a fraud too," a senior official of the AP government said.The goodies include free land anywhere in India, two automatic salary increments, free AC 1st class travel on trains, 25% concession on Air India travels and even income-tax rebates.

Two of the officers to whom memos have been issued are already in the dog house. Shriram Tiwari was recently superseded by the state government: his batchmates are additional director generals but he languishes as an inspector general in a side posting.Earlier Tiwari had been involved in some other case in North Bengal, where he was posted as inspector general of the BSF. In fact, there were allegations against Tiwari even before he went on deputation to the BSF and questions were asked how he has given cadre clearance by the state government.

Sivashankar is additional director general of the Special Protection Force, a low-profile organisation responsible for the security of state government installations.During TDP rule, he was the eyes and ears of Chandrababu Naidu, being the high-profile intelligence chief.

The third officer, Nalin Prabhat, is currently, on deputation as commandant in the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).It is learned that the file relating to an inquiry conducted against these officers has gone missing from the ministry of home, but sources said that the Centre has enough evidence to go ahead and direct issuance of a charge memo.



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