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Basant Rath Transfer Linked to “Twitter Spat” with Junaid Mattu or Negative IB Report?



Basant Rath – the flamboyant cop has once again found himself being pulled by the higher authorities for his bluntness and maverick work style. After hitting out at Srinagar’s newly elected Mayor Junaid Mattu on Twitter to stay off traffic management as it wasn’t his domain, Basant Rath is no longer the Inspector General of Police (IGP) – Traffic.

He has been replaced by ‘Alok Kumar’ and transferred to the office of the Commandant General, Home Guards/Civil Defense/SDRF.

Basanth Rath’s Controversies

Rath also found himself at the centre of an earlier controversy when he tweeted the Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli to ‘keep his cricket patriotism to himself’. Rath is no stranger to controversies. In fact, controversies love him! In October, he allegedly slapped a video journalist and snatched his mobile phone.

As IGP Traffic, Rath had a love and hate relationship with the motorists. He didn’t regard any individual or their standings in the society; he went about his job with the utmost passion. Bikers who refused to wear helmets, in his words, were, ‘politically well-connected individuals’.

Once, he seized the vehicle of an Army official. This resulted in the Army official and Rath filing FIRs against each other. While politicians have labelled him as a goon, the common men have showered praises on him for his ‘honesty’.

One cannot deny Rath’s huge following. The locals click selfies with him, have tea with him and back him. The Valley’s social media had been abuzz with his videos and short clippings.

Intelligence Bureau (IB) Inquiry Report

The 2000-cadre IPS, Rath caught the attention of the IB through his write-ups in the The Wire and The Indian Express. The IB had described Rath’s columns as ‘dangerously critical to the government policy’. A discreet inquiry followed and in August 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the J&K government to take ‘disciplinary action’ against Rath.

The inquiry report stated that “Rath had failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty, interacted with the media without making it all times clear that the views expressed therein are his personal and not that of the Government’s.” In his columns, Rath had adversely criticized the policies (past and present) of the Government.

There were even talks of Rath paving a path for himself into politics. And controversies aside, his colorful persona, and sharpness will surely get him there.

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