By Sanu George
Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 25 (IANS): The stage is all set for Kerala to get its first female State Police Chief (SPC), after Director General of Police B. Sandhya's name appeared in the three-candidate list of the UPSC. But the question is will it happen or the Chief Minister finds a way to get his favourite?
The UPSC list came late Thursday.
Of late, the norm for posting the SPC includes -- the state first sends a list of eligible candidates to the UPSC, which then screens the list based on norms and sends back three, and the State government can choose one from the list.
Kerala government had first sent a list of 12 eligible candidates, which after the first screening by the UPSC was brought down to nine, and after further wetting, the UPSC returned the list with three names which included -- Sudheesh Kumar, the head of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, Sandhya presently head of the Fire Force, and Anil Kant - the Road Safety Commissioner.
The list does not have the name of Tomin J. Thachenkery, considered to be a close aide of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The Chief Minister himself handles the Home portfolio and Thackenkery was widely tipped for the post.
Vijayan now has a few more days left to decide on who should take the top post as the incumbent SPC Loknath Behra is to superannuate on June 30.
Incidentally, there are ways in which Vijayan can circumvent the rules legally and if he desires he can still post Thachenkery as in-charge SPC of Law and Order and give the SPC post to one of the three in the UPSC list, minus the key component law and order.
It remains to be seen if Sandhya is made the SPC without the law and order portfolio. However, out of the three shortlisted names, Sudheesh Kumar is the senior most and the most eligible as found by the UPSC.
All eyes are now on Vijayan as an SPC without the law and order component is like a bird whose wings are clipped.
In the past, there have been instances, when police officials bypassing seniority have been made the chief of law and order, while the SPC post was given to others.
The decision on who gets the coveted post will be known in a day or two.