NEW DELHI: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has suspended company commander J Vishwanath for “failure of leadership” during a road opening patrol in Sukma on April 24 during which 25 paramilitary personnel were killed by Naxalites. A senior CRPF official said a preliminary enquiry conducted by additional director general Kuldeep Singh found prima facie culpability in showing lack of leadership on the ground on the fateful day and accordingly Vishwanath has been placed under suspension.
Further action will be taken against the officer after a departmental enquiry against him.
The action against the assistant commandant comes after the preliminary report found prima facie operational shortcomings on his part leading to the killing of the 25 CRPF men.
Sources said the official along with five to six men went missing when the ultras ambushed the CRPF party. Two companies were deployed on road opening patrol duty in the Naxal hotbed between Burkapal and Chintagufa in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on April 24. While the assistant commandant of one company was killed in the Naxal ambush, Vishwanath had survived the assault but did not take effective retaliatory measures to repulse the ambush.
Meanwhile, the paramilitary has also transferred about half a dozen officials, including the 74th battalion commandant Feroze Kuzur, from the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. Officials, however, termed the transfers as “routine annual exercise”.
The preliminary report on the incident by Kuldeep Singh was submitted to the Union Home Ministry earlier this week.
The preliminary enquiry has found a “prima facie lack of leadership” on the part of the company commander in effectively dealing with the attack and taking retaliatory action.