New Delhi: The Centre has made it clear that police officers convicted of crimes will be stripped of their medals. A precedent has been set with the withdrawal of medals awarded to former Haryana director general of police, SPS Rathore - convicted in the Ruchika Girhotra case - and this would mean the hero of Punjab Police, KPS Gill could lose his awards.
However, opinion is divided on whether the same yardstick must apply for Gill.
Gill was convicted in 1996 for misbehaving with IAS officer Rupan Deol Bajaj, but he is credited with single-handedly stanmping the insurgency in Punjab. Many say KPS Gill's awards should not be withdrawn keeping in mind the service he has rendered to the nation.
The former police officer has won three medals: Meritorious Service in 1972, President's police medal in 1975 and Padam Shri 1988.
During a long and illustrious career KPS Gill has served as the Punjab Director General of Police twice. He commanded Operation Black Thunder to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple in 1988.
His services in counter-terrorism were also sought by Sri Lankan and Gujarat governments and he is currently the president of the Indian hockey federation.
With the Home Ministry considering stripping Gill of his medals, senior advocate KTS Tulsi came out in the officer's defense.
"Remember, in 1996, Gill was convicted for outraging the modesty of a lady IAS officer. Now stripping his off his medals is unjustified. KPS Gill is an outstanding officer. They will need to balance acts of courage with this minor blemish. Anyone can have false accusations against them. Anyone can have an accusation that is blown out of proportion," Tulsi said.
THE CASE INVOLVING KPS GILL
- Gill was accused in 1988 by senior IAS officer Rupan Deol Bajaj of pinching her bottom
- The incident happened during a party, when Gill was DGP of Punjab
- In August 1996, Gill was convicted for sexual harassment, and was sentenced to five months imprisonment for the same
- In July 2005, the Supreme Court scaled down the punishment to probation and a fine
But KPS Gill continues to insist he wasn't convicted. He told CNN-IBN: "There was no conviction in my case. Also there was no delay in trial on my part. The Supreme Court took up the case in 1995 though the High Court quashed the FIR in 1989. This would not have become an issue had I not been the DGP.