“Haryana mein to saare Hooda khud ko chief minister samajhte hain (every Hooda in Haryana thinks he is the chief minister).”
This was the light hearted response of a Haryana police head constable to a person who, on receiving his phone call, addressed himself as “Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana”. Mocking him, the head constable warned Hooda to refund the Rs 50 wrongly credited to his phone by a mobile phone shopkeeper.
Peeved, Hooda took down his posting details and disconnected the call. It was only the next day when he was allegedly rebuked by Superintendent of Police (SP), Sirsa, that Head Constable Naresh Kumar realised he had, in fact, inadvertently connected with the Chief Minister himself.
An embarrassed Naresh Kumar apologised but the SP reportedly said he would be “taught a lesson”.
The call was made in October 13, 2010 and he was “pulled up” the next day. Exactly a month later, in November 2010, a departmental enquiry was ordered against Kumar for remaining absent from duty and “misbehaving” with his senior officer.
Following a detailed enquiry, Kumar, who had 22 years of “unblemished service”, was given a dismissal order on March 3, 2011. After repeated representations, the Director General of Police (DGP) changed the dismissal orders to stoppage of three annual increments.
Refusing to accept this, Kumar moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He has dragged the Chief Minister of Haryana to court and alleged that a “false and fabricated” inquiry was ordered and “adverse action” initiated against him only because he had inadvertently called up the Chief Minister.
Taking note of this, the High Court last month issued notices to the chief minister, DGP, the then SP Sirsa and the enquiry officer and asked them to file their response in eight weeks.
In his petition, Kumar has alleged he was dismissed “due to pressure of Chief Minister Haryana” and that the then SP, Sirsa S K Gupta dismissed him with “mala fide intention”.