On November 5, the EC had recommended transfers of superintendent of police (SP) of Patan M S Bharada, Jamnagar SP Harekrishna Patel and Surat DCP N D Solanki and suggested replacing them, respectively, with Shukla, Rajkot DCP Sarah Rizvi and M M Anarwala of the state Crime Records Bureau.
The EC had also recommended relieving IGP A K Sharma of his additional charge of the special branch, which is a critical department technically under the police commissioner but functions as an intelligence wing and handles immigration cases. Sharma continues to be Joint Commissioner of Police at DCB.
Confirming Shukla’s reinstatement, Principal Secretary (Home) S K Nanda said, “Shukla is still the investigating officer of the post-Godhra riots cases being probed by the SIT and hence he was retained with the DCB and his transfer order was cancelled.”
As soon as the EC announced the transfers, the state government began efforts to retain Shukla in DCB. The government first pressed for transferring him to Patan district for its proximity to the SIT office in Gandhinagar. The EC had transferred Shukla first to Jamnagar but changed it with Patan the same evening.
Congress had reportedly complained to EC that Shukla and Sharma were keeping them under surveillance.
The controversy gained momentum when DCB questioned Congress (women) minority cell president Noorjahan Diwan last month in connection to the October 3 Karanj arson. Diwan is also a member of Delhi-based NGO Anhad.
Shukla, a 2005-batch IPS officer, was appointed as the investigating officer in four important post-Godhra riot cases of Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gam, Gulberg Society and Prantij, the last being the place where British nationals were killed.
After Shukla’s probe, the special court had convicted 32 people, including BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and RSS leader Babu Bajrangi, in Naroda Patiya riots.
He also submitted a final probe report on former Congress MP’s widow Zakia Jafri’s complaint against 62 people, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, giving a clean chit to the CM in the Gulberg case.
Now, Patan will get a new SP in Saurabh Tolumbia, who is expected to return from his current posting in Nagaland.
Fresh postings for the ousted SPs, Bharada, Patel and Solanki, may be announced on Thursday.