Gupteshwar Pandey, after quitting as Bihar police chief last evening, said today that his decision had nothing to do with the Sushant Singh Rajput case, which has become a political talking point ahead of the state’s election just weeks away.
Mr Pandey’s request for voluntary retirement was approved on Tuesday by the Bihar government, which has waived a three-month mandatory cooling off period. Reports suggest he is keen on contesting the Bihar election as a candidate of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from Sahpur in Buxar district.
He was cautious while speaking about his reported plans but did not rule out politics.
“I am no longer DGP (Director General of Police) as of today. So no government rules apply to me anymore. As for what I will do… people are coming from Buxar, Jehanabad, Begusarai, many other districts…people are coming to me. I will speak to people as to how they want my service and then take a decision,” Mr Pandey, 59, told reporters.
“I have not said that I will contest polls yet,” he insisted, when asked whether he was angling for a chance to contest the state election.
“I haven’t joined any party. When I do I will tell all of you. Politics is not the only way of serving society.”
Mr Pandey was instrumental in the Bihar government’s push in the Sushant Singh Rajput investigations after his family filed a case in Patna blaming his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty.
After the Supreme Court endorsed the CBI investigation recommended by the Bihar government, Mr Pandey, as police chief, bragged that Rhea Chakraborty “does not have the aukat (stature)” to comment on the Chief Minister. He was referring to her remarks in the top court about the Nitish Kumar government using the Sushant Rajput investigation for political capital.
He defended his comments even today. “The word aukat means stature. I only said that Nitish Kumar is Chief Minister and Rhea Chakraborty had no right to make comments on him,” she said.
In earlier statements to the media, Mr Pandey had admitted that the Sushant Singh Rajput case had turned political and said it was “unfortunate” that “allegations were being leveled against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar” – comments that were seen to be unusually political for an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
In 2009, Mr Pandey had requested early retirement to contest the national election from the Buxar parliamentary constituency. The state government rejected his application and on Nitish Kumar’s intervention, he returned to service.