Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: On Sunday, December 2, the Gujarat Police Recruitment Board cancelled the written examination for the post of Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) jawans in Gujarat Police as the answer key to the test papers got leaked on social media. The move left about 9 lakh aspirants confused, dejected and furious. Some of these candidates had travelled to 200 kilometres to sit in these exams. The man behind this decision was the chief of the board IPS Vikas Sahay. It was a decision that could make or break him, and nobody could really fathom the mental stress he had to undergo before the decision. Just cancelling the exams were not the solution for this. One had to accept the glaring error and then go to the root of it to solve it. I have seen many IPS officers who have an ego about their position and their achievements and believe that they could never make a mistake, and if they do, they never accept the same.

I’ve never met him IPS Sahay in person, but I did have one encounter with him. I was a crime reporter with a local newspaper and Sahay was the Deputy Police Commissioner of the Ahmedabad Traffic Police. Sahay’s honesty can never be doubted, but I had written a story about the rampant corruption in the traffic police department. My piece didn’t go down well with him despite the fact that I didn’t name him or anyone in my article. He went to the city police commissioner to take legal action against me for my writing.

Sahay, a graduate in history, had joined the police force in 1989. Because he has been posted in leadership positions at the police departments of different districts, his image amongst his peers is that of an egotistical officer with a short fuse who gets agitated if things don’t go his way. The staffs that work under him know him for his sharp brain. But he has never featured in the good books of the government because of his honesty and his behaviour. As a result, he has been regularly given postings at Raksha Shakti University and Karai Police Academy. But the government rightly gave him the responsibility of the chief of recruitment board, given his honesty.

Had Sahay remained mum and let the exams take place despite knowing the fact that the paper has been leaked, it would have been an injustice to those hard-working candidates who’d miss out as their place would be taken by those who cheated in their exams using the leaked answer keys. Had he been tight-lipped about it, it could have saved him and the Rupani government of Gujarat from the shame, but his conscience didn’t let him be so. Cancelling the examination meant that Sahay would have to accept that he erred. Apologizing and accepting one’s mistake is not easy even for common men. But Sahay, an IPS officer with 30 years of career behind him, decided that he would accept his mistake and apologized for it.

Had he not cancelled the exams, there wouldn’t have been such a hue and cry as it is happening now and it would have been difficult to prove that papers were indeed leaked. But Sahay went for it, despite knowing the backlash he might have to face. We don’t know if Sahay apprised the government and chief minister Vijay Rupani before cancelling the exams. And if he did and it was indeed approved by the CM, then this move must be lauded.

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