MPV blast killings: CRPF transfers CO of Sukma battalion

Prashant Dhar, the Commanding Officer (CO), has been transferred to the North East sector late last evening, pending inquiry, officials said.

Published: 17th March 2018 02:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2018 02:56 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The CRPF has transferred the Commandant of its 212th battalion whose nine personnel were recently killed in a Naxal triggered IED blast in Chhattisgarh.

Prashant Dhar, the Commanding Officer (CO), has been transferred to the North East sector late last evening, pending inquiry, officials said.

They said the role of the officer is under scrutiny for alleged lapses that led to the killing of the nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans in Sukma district on March 13 as their mine protected vehicle (MPV) was blown off by the Maoists.

Dhar, officials said, was directed by the CRPF Director General (DG) R R Bhatnagar, through field commanders, to exercise caution and not allow any movement on the 5-km under-construction Kistaram-Palodi road after an encounter between the Maoists and security forces had taken place in the morning on the fateful day.

But, they said, Sukma district Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhishek Meena visited the area and the CRPF, state police and district reserve group (DRG) contingents accompanied him and Dhar for their onward movement to some newly established security camps in the area including Palodi.

At this juncture, they said, it was decided to take out not one but two MPVs.

Under what circumstances Dhar allowed this movement is part of a Court of Inquiry (CoI).

The directions issued by the CRPF DG against making any movement, standing instructions to very sparingly use MPVs and largely in reinforcement jobs and the alert generated after the early morning encounter in the same area were overlooked and troops allowed to board the MPV are some of the glaring lapses, they said.

Bhatnagar had yesterday told PTI that the incident was very much "avoidable".

"This was a very unfortunate incident. It was unavoidable. We are now looking into the circumstances as to how the operation was conducted. Whatever corrective steps have to be taken, will be taken. An inquiry is underway," the DG had said.

A total of 11 CRPF men were travelling in the MPV which is understood to have been blown off by Naxals by joining wires of a concealed IED laden with "huge amount" of explosives.

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