Pavan Kumar Rai: From Punjab-Cadre IPS Officer To R&AW Chief In Canada, Here's A Profile Of The Diplomat Who Has Now Been Expelled
Pavan Kumar Rai, an Indian diplomat and a 1997-batch Punjab cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was recently expelled by the Canadian government.
Rai held the position of station chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in Canada.
He was expelled amidst Canada's investigation into "credible allegations" of a potential connection between the Indian government and the assassination of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Nijjar, the leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force and head of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, Canada, was fatally shot in June of this year.
Prior to his central deputation in 2010, Rai played a prominent role in combating drug-related issues in Punjab.
According to a police officer familiar with Rai's work, during his time in Punjab, he was highly regarded as a competent and dedicated officer.
Despite facing political pressure, particularly in relation to the prevalent drug issue in Punjab, Rai remained steadfast and chose to pursue central deputation.
Rai, aged 53, served as the senior superintendent of police of Jalandhar and Amritsar in the late 2000s.
On 31 January, the Punjab government promoted him to the position of additional director-general of police, along with seven other IPS officers.
Having a close association with former R&AW chief Samant Kumar Goel, who is also a Punjab cadre IPS officer, Rai was deputed to the agency. In 2018, he was selected for empanelment to hold the post of joint secretary or its equivalent at the Centre.
A notification from the Ministry of External Affairs that year said, "The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of External Affairs to appoint Shri Pavan Kumar Rai, IPS (PB:1997) as joint secretary (personnel), Ministry of External Affairs for a period of three years from the date of assuming charge of the post."
While his expulsion has yet to elicit a response from the Punjab government, concerns and anger are growing among Rai's colleagues.
India rejects Canada's claims of India's link to Sikh activist's murder, calling them 'absurd' and 'motivated'.
A police officer expressed concern over the Canadian government's public disclosure, stating that it was driven by political reasons and aimed at influencing the Punjabi diaspora in Canada.
The officer emphasised that while playing politics is acceptable, it should not put a diplomat in harm's way. If the intention was to expel him, his name should have been kept confidential.
Another police officer shared the concern for the diplomat's security and urged the Canadian government to prioritise his safety, as well as the safety of his family.
The officer appealed for security measures to be provided until the diplomat reaches India, highlighting the risk he now faces due to being singled out. The officer warned of potential threats from radical Sikhs.
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