December 3, 2023

Once again, luck does not favour Hemant Priyadarshy

Jaipur: Once again, even in a well intended move, luck did not favour Additional Director General of ACB – Hemant Priyadarshy, where even after his initial support to the controversial order, CM Ashok Gehlot ultimately had to backtrack and withdraw the controversial order, issued by Priyadarshy, just in 24 hours of his taking over the officiating charge of the vacant post of DG-ACB.

According to sources, Priyadarshy, with an image of an honest and result oriented officer, had courted similar controversy nearly twenty five years back too and the reason for that was an incident, which can not be erased from the state’s administrative and political history.

In 1997, Priyadarshy was Superintendent of Police of Jalore district. The 1992 batch IPS was fairly new to the service and had been given the responsibility of SP for the first time. At that time a major incident occurred when Jain saint Lokendra Vijay cut his veins and died by suicide.

One female disciple of the saint – Naina Jogni – registered a case against him in Bheenmal police station on September 6, 1997, alleging that the saint raped her. The police took the saint to police station and locked him up, but due to the Jain community’s agitation and support to the saint, he was released soon after. However, four days later, on September 10, the saint commited suicide.

Thereafter what ever happened became a footnote in state’s history. The local public came out strongly against the police action and demanded suspension of SP Hemant Priyadarshy. The situation went from bad to worse and curfew had to be imposed. But when that also did not work, the army had to be called in. One person died in police firing and 150 people were wounded, along with several cops.

Two politicians — Dula Ram and Jagmal Singh Yadav — were arrested for breaking peace.
Meanwhile in Jaipur, the state legislature session was being conducted and the matter was raised in the House. BJP was in power and Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat announced in the House that SP would be suspended. Om Mathur, along with two ministers — Lalit Kishor Chaturvedi and Arjun Devra — were sent to Jalore while CM Shekhawat announced a judicial inquiry into the matter.

But the matter took a new turn when the Congress and several institutions objected to SP’s suspension. In agitation, Congress leaders Bina Kak, Daljeet Singh and Jagat Singh Dayma staged a sit-in at Manak Chowk Chopar in Jaipur.

An inquiry commission was constituted under Justice VS Kokje of Rajasthan High Court and after the situation calmed down, Priyadarshy was reinstated. When in March 2002, Justice Kokje submitted his report, by that time the government had changed and Congress government had come to power.

This 25 year old, one of a kind incident had shocked the state. Moreover, it was an extremely uncommon event that CM announced in the House that the SP would be suspended and later the agitation by opposition for SP’s reinstatement was also a never before seen development. Thus, the Jalore incident has become a footnote in state’s political and bureaucratic history.

After the incident, Priyadarshy became SP of Ajmer and Dholpur districts and went on deputation between 2008-16 and November 2020 to August 2022. But when he returned after completing his deputation from Delhi, the state government kept him on APO for two months and has now accorded him the reins of the ACB, which is a surprise move. In return, Priyadarshy too has surprised everyone by issuing the controversial order, even with bonafide intentions. Now a lobby of IPS officers at PHQ is trying to push him out of ACB where there is a queue of senior officers to take over this sensitive and important charge.