Gangtok: Retired police officer Sonam Bhutia on Friday openly alleged that suspended IPS officer Akshay Sachdeva is trying to spark a ‘mutiny’ within Sikkim by appealing other officers to support him. Bhutia, a resident of Chungthang in North Sikkim, took voluntarily retirement from his post as an Inspector of Sikkim Police in 1994.
During a press conference held at the Press Club of Sikkim in Gangtok on Friday, Bhutia who was also an eyewitness-cum-victim of the 2013 lathicharge on supporters of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), condemned the appeal made by Sachdeva on Wednesday through the media. Bhutia said that he should be dismissed for violating the rules of the Centre as no government servant is allowed to address the media without getting the necessary permission.
Bhutia was then the general secretary of the legal cell of the ruling SKM led by CM PS Golay.
“Our function was going smoothly until the news of the CM’s vehicle being attacked made the rounds and Sachdeva arrived on the spot with a truck full of ‘newly SAP recruits’. I clearly did not see the DC and SP during that particular time when Sachdeva started giving a lecture using unconstitutional words to the force and ordered lathicharge without any warning,” said Bhutia.
According to Bhutia, Sachdeva then pushed one of the party’s women supporters. “If I had not held her, she would have been severely injured. Thereafter, I was beaten up brutally along with many other supporters,” he recalled.
The already deputed senior policemen would not do anything to us that day because they knew that we were not wrong, so Sachdeva deputed the new recruits and instigated them through his speech, Bhutia said. “Being a police officer, I used to respect him but to see him act so brutally I lost all respect for him after that day,” he added.
He also appreciated the report of the commission under former DG Dwivedi who studied the case in a detailed manner.
Now suffering from cancer, Bhutia further blamed Sachdeva for his injury on the right shoulder which the doctors claimed to be more serious than cancer.
Bhutia further said that Sachdeva alone cannot take the credit of his efficiency. “He was just a supervisor and policemen like us worked selflessly for him to gain fame and name in society,” he said.
“I appeal the present government to take this case seriously and give justice to the innocent public who were attacked by him that day. I don’t have much time due to my sickness and I want to see him get punished while I am alive,” Bhutia said.
Likewise, Gopal Pathak, a resident of Rhenock in East Sikkim, also accused Sachdeva of mercilessly removing him from his service in Sikkim Police in 2013 for reciting poems which were viewed as criticism to the then Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government of Sikkim.
In a press conference at Press Club of Sikkim on Thursday, Pathak informed that he was serving Sikkim police as a lance naik in North Sikkim. His hobby is to write and recite poems, so he had recited a few poems after the tragic earthquake of September 18, 2011, titled Bhuichalo.
Apart from the natural earthquake, Sikkim was also experiencing a political earthquake and his poem revolved around the political earthquake, Pathak explained. The police headquarters came to know about his poems and Sachdeva, then IG of law & order, ordered his removal from service.
According to Pathak, when he went to formally apologise to him, Sachdeva told him to verbally apologise to all the officers in the police headquarters in Gangtok, which he did, but his punishment wasn’t reviewed. He was the lone bread-earner in his household and had to save his job. So, he sent his wife to apologise and plead for her husband’s case. His wife said that she was humiliated and was offered a job of a homeguard by Sachdeva in a humiliating tone.
When Pathak again went to him with a plea, he was body searched and told that he would be sent to jail and beaten up by his fellow IRBn jawans. After that, Pathak approached the high court which told that the police to consider his case as he was the lone bread earner in his house.
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”.
On hearing about Sachdeva’s suspension, Pathak said that his faith in the justice system has become stronger.
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