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IPS officer Akshay Sachdeva interacting with students during one of his community-based programmes
IPS officer Akshay Sachdeva interacting with students during one of his community-based programmes|File image
SIKKIM

Smear campaign against me: Sikkim IPS officer Akshay Sachdeva

Sachdeva, who was posted as chief vigilance officer-cum-recovery officer at State Bank of Sikkim, placed under suspension; comes under fire for 2013 lathi-charge on SKM supporters

Dichen Ongmu

Dichen Ongmu

IPS officer Akshya Sachdeva has come under fire for his role in the lathicharge of SKM supporters in Tadong in 2013
IPS officer Akshya Sachdeva has come under fire for his role in the lathicharge of SKM supporters in Tadong in 2013
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Gangtok: Akshay Sachdeva, the longest-serving IPS officer of Sikkim, has appealed chief minister PS Golay and the public in general seeking justice against the ‘propaganda’ that’s currently doing the rounds.

On Tuesday, in a disciplinary proceeding initiated against Sachdeva, the state government had placed Sachdeva, who was posted as chief vigilance officer-cum-recovery officer at State Bank of Sikkim on deputation "under suspension with immediate effect, pending an inquiry".

As per the office order dated July 16, during the period that the order shall remain in force, the "headquarters" of Sachdeva will be Gangtok and he "shall not leave the said headquarters without obtaining the permission of the government".

During a press conference held at his residence on Tuesday morning, Sachdev highlighted how the 2013 lathicharge on Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) supporters has mentally harassed him and now has put his clean career at stake.

“Humble appeal to our CM and the public of Sikkim to support me as I am not guilty of what happened in 2013 lathicharge in SKM party head office near Gangtok. I was simply doing my duty as per the magisterial order. I am a sincere and honest officer who has loved and served the State and its people with utmost sincerity and clarity,” said Sachdev.

“Whatever action I took in the 2013 lathicharge was merely on duty. Any police officer would have taken similar step like mine in that stressful situation. I agree that I used un-Parliamentary word but that was clearly said during the heat of the moment to motivate my force and I have already apologised to the Supreme Court about it. I had given a six-minute-long speech to control the situation back then, however only that section of my speech was circulated to tarnish me,” he said.

Sachdeva further said it was very unfortunate that the Sikkim Police did not record that incident; so there is no proof of his speech. “If I had not functioned according to the magisterial order that day then there would have been major mass clash, loss of life and property across the state to a great extent,” he added.

Later, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court and after six years, the court did not declare him guilty, rather it asked the state government’s point of view, Sachdev said. "Some are doing a smear campaign against me through social media due to their vested interests seeking my suspension in this particular case, which is highly unfair,” he added.

Sachdev also questioned the public that whether or not the police were authorised or not to take action against those who were attacking the public or the VIPs and provide them security.

Recalling the 2013 lathicharge incident, Sachdev said, “It was the foundation day of then opposition and now ruling SKM. A week earlier, a group of SKM supporters came in labeling me as one of the fair police officers and seeking jawans for the security purpose that day as there were possibilities of huge gathering. To this, I agreed and deployed around 100 IRBn personnel.”

“It was a state holiday and in the afternoon I got a call saying the former chief minister’s vehicle was attacked with plastic bottles, due to which I had to reach the spot. We only wanted to identify and arrest the ones who had attacked the CM’s vehicle but the masses did not cooperate. The DM, ADM and all the officers present there tried to control the situation but the masses were adamant not to listen. After the magisterial order, lathicharge was carried out to disperse the mass. I also escorted the present CM then MLA with a salute till the gate briefing him about the current situation. In between all these, I delivered a speech to control the situation and motivate my force but only a section of it was used to over shadow my clean reputation,” he explained.

Talking about his new posting, Sachdev said: “For an IPS officer, the posting as a non-police officer is not acceptable. My current post as a recovery officer of SBS is an under-secretary post. Despite all the facts, I did not create any scene, rather humbly accepted and did my job as efficiently as always. It was indeed humiliating and everyone was making fun of me to which I did not respond and accepted it positively.”

Shunning the favouritism part, Sachdev said, “The rumours of me being the favourite officer of the former CM is not correct because if I was his favourite then I would have been gifted a land, would have owned buildings and hotels by now, received prestigious awards and would not have been posted in departments where nobody would like to work.”

“I always shone in every post and task assigned to me due to which there was a feeling that the posting was good or in my favour. I have always done normal policing which some could not and that is why my way of working style looked odd,” he added.

Who is Akshay Sachdev?
Akshay Sachdev, a 1991-batch IPS officer, hails from Punjab. He is a gold medallist in BE Civil Engineering and Master’s in Structural Engineering. He has served Sikkim for 28 years without any deputation. He has seen three generations of government in the state.

He was first posted as SDPO Namchi and then SDPO Rangpo and SDPO Gangtok. This was followed by posts such as Additional SP East, SP North, Commadant SAP, SP East, DIG Range Sikkim, IG Fire, IG Armed Police, director Vigilance, ADG Law & Order, ADG Fire & Checkpost.

As the commandant of SAP, he improved the force which was on the verge of being banned due to disciplinary issues.

As SP of East Sikkim district, he focused on controlling crime, especially against hooligans during that time, implemented strict law & order in the state including yellow-headed taxis, compulsory helmets, no overloading, concept of boards under traffic, anti-pollution drives, anti-mobile rides, cleanliness drives.

As IG (Fire), he equipped the department by bringing in modern equipment, did lot of college and school programmes, made fire extinguishers work in public and residential orders.

As IG (Armed Police), he worked for the upgrade of IRBn jawans by giving them efficient training.

As IG (Law & Order), he dealt with clashes between the rival political parties, gave security and protection to everyone for damage control.

As director (vigilance–anti-corruption drive), he found over 100 officers guilty.

Meanwhile, a ‘#supportakshay’ campaign has already begun in the state.