In an apparent fallout of police handling of a series of rape and sexual assault incidents in the city, triggering widespread protests and outrage, sweeping changes were affected in the Bangalore police commissionerate by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government here on Monday.
In a clear sign that the Congress government was not pleased with the public backlash over crimes against women and children, the Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar and his second-in-command, additional commissioner of police (law and order) Kamal Pant were transferred from the Bangalore police commissionerate and posted to the police headquarters.
The Congress government has brought in senior officer M N Reddi as police commissioner. Reddi was earlier the Additional Director General of Police for law and order across the state.
Former head of the crime and anti-terrorist unit in Bangalore and Inspector General of Police Alok Kumar has been appointed as the new additional commissioner of police for law and order in the city. Kumar was serving as the Inspector General of Police (Grievances and Human Rights) for the past year.
After taking charge as commissioner on Monday evening, Reddi said that his emphasis will be on the safety of citizens and “women in particuluar”, reining in anti-social elements and community policing.
The Congress government on Monday also gave senior officer and ADGP H C Kishore Chandra a key posting in the state after a lapse of nearly seven years.
Kishore Chandra who is said to be close to the JDS party of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda has been posted as the new law and order chief for the state in the position vacated by M N Reddi.
An intelligence chief during the tenure of Gowda’s son H D Kumaraswamy as chief minister Kishore Chandra had been languishing for long without any posting under the previous BJP government. The Congress government had last year appointed him as the ADGP for communication, logistics and modernization.
The outgoing police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar was posted as the ADGP of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP). The Bangalore commissionerate under Auradkar had a largely non-controversial tenure until the police were caught napping over the past week as public protests mounted over two incidents of rape and sexual assault in the city – specifically the sexual assault on a six-year-old child at an elite school where police delayed arrests for lack of evidence even as public pressure mounted for arrests.
Among the feathers in Auradkar’s cap was the cracking of a bomb blast case at the BJP headquarters in Bangalore within a week of the attack.
Auradkar had found himself dragged into a controversy a month ago when the then ADGP of the KSRP Dr P Ravindranath had accused him of a conspiracy after Ravindranath was arrested by the Bangalore police for clicking obscene pictures of a young woman at a local cafe in central Bangalore. Policemen in the KSRP had come out in support of Ravindranath and staged protests against Auradkar in the streets last month.
The controversy was seen as likely to result in Auradkar’s transfer but died out subsequently. Auradkar was the junior most ADGP in the Karnataka police department when he was appointed as the police commissioner last year by the Congress government after it came to power. The new Bangalore police commissioner has M N Reddi had served earlier in Bangalore as an additional commissioner for traffic.
The government’s move to bring back IGP Alok Kumar a former commander of the Anti-Naxal Force who is considered a tough officer to the city is seen as an effort to deal with law and order situation in the city with a stronger hand.