The Karnataka High Court has quashed the appointment of Shankar Bidari as state police chief in view of alleged atrocities on women and tribals by police teams headed by him during the hunt for forest brigand Veerappan. The court said if the allegations against him were true then Bidari is “worse than Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi”.
Justices N. Kumar and H.S. Kempanna slammed Bidari over alleged atrocities and said: “Though he was not one of them, if what the two women (tribals) have said in their affidavit is true, he is worse than them (Saddam Hussain and Muamar Gadaffi.”
Their ruling Friday upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order cancelling Bidari’s appointment as Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police.
His appointment was challenged in the CAT by A.R. Infant, who is one year senior to Bidari in the Indian Police Service (IPS). Infant belongs to the 1977 batch while Bidari to the 1978 batch. He was appointed as DGP in November last year.
Dismissing Bidari’s petition challenging the CAT ruling, Justice Kumar and Kempanna directed immediate appointment of Infant as DGP.
Bidari and the state government now plan to petition the Supreme Court against the high court ruling.
Following the high court directive, Infant will Saturday assume charge as DGP and IGP of Karnataka police, Home Minister R. Ashoka told reporters here Saturday after a meeting with Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.
“We bow to the high court order. Infant will take over as DGP and IGP. But we will petition the Supreme Court as the issue also involves the right of the government to appoint the police chief,” he said.
Bidari was deputy commander of the joint Special Task Force (STF) set up by the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to nab elephant poacher and sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, who operated in the forests across the two states.
The brigand was shot dead by Tamil Nadu police in October 2004.
Justices Kumar and Kempanna held that Bidari had not shown remorse even now for the atrocities committed by STF.
They said Bidari should be relieved immediately and Infant be appointed to the post “if the state has any respect for rule of law, womanhood, human rights, tribals, concern for the downtrodden, and the socially backward”.