Sunday October 17, 2021

Two ex-directors of Punjab SPU given third extension

September 06, 2021
Two ex-directors of Punjab SPU given third extension

LAHORE: Having refused twice, the Punjab chief minister has finally approved "unprecedented" extension in the contracts of two former additional directors of the Special Protection Unit (SPU), Punjab police.

Former SPU Addl Directors Col (retd) Nadeem and Col (retd) Mehdi Najam were appointed in 2017 on contract for a period of three years. In April 2020 and May 2020, their contracts were extended for one year which expired on April 13, 2021, and May 17, 2021, respectively.

The Punjab IG forwarded their summaries for extension on March 11, 2021, which were rejected by the chief minister. The summaries were again put up before the CM rejected them in June this year.

Following the rejection of their summaries twice, the IG withdrew all perks and privileges from the officers and they were completely separated from departmental duties and sent home. After their departure, the CPO assigned the additional charge of the vacant posts to other officers through a notification on July 8, 2021, a copy of which is available with The News.

Meanwhile, a third summary was moved to the chief minister under mysterious circumstances for their contract extension despite a break in their service. This time, the chief minister approved an extension in their contracts for one year with retrospective effect, ignoring the break periods and burden on the national exchequer against “no work”.

According to the prevailing policy, contract can only be extended for on-duty employees. In case of termination of a contract and discharge from duties, the employees have to re-apply for their contracts for which there is a different procedure.

Officers at the SPU Headquarters wonder how the contracts of the officers had been extended without a requisition by SPU authorities. Sources in the Punjab police told this correspondent that there would also be a huge audit objection against the department. SPU officials, despite intense pressure from the high-ups, have not yet given them any charge due to what they call "illegal extensions." The officers tried to create a mess at the headquarters.

However, they were asked to get posting orders from the IG. Sources said a letter is also being written to the IG highlighting the issues in the unprecedented extensions.

The Service & General Administration Department (S&GAD) issued notifications to extend the contracts on August 9, 2021, without confirmation of their status of being on duty due to which the two officers are now demanding millions of rupees from the national exchequer in terms of their salary and arrears for the period they lost their jobs and went home.

When contacted, Punjab government spokesman and Prisons Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said he was not aware of the issue. He sought a brief message about the issue so that he could get details from the department concerned and give his version. A detailed message with queries was sent to him but he did not respond.

A detailed message was also sent to Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat but he also did not reply to it. Punjab police DIG focal person Suhail Sukhera said the CM was the appointing authority and a due procedure of forwarding summaries had been adopted by the IG. To a question why the summaries had been rejected twice, he said he could not comment without reading them in detail.