Former Intelligence Bureau special director Dattatray Padsalgikar, 58, will take over the reins of the Mumbai Police on Sunday, as the city’s 40th police commissioner.
The Maharashtra government on Saturday formally announced the appointment of Padsalgikar as Ahmad Javed’s successor. Javed retired from the force after 36 years of service.
Padsalgikar’s batchmates know him to be an honest and upright officer with experience in counter-terror operations. The newly appointed Mumbai police commissioner has earlier played a critical role in the the city, gathering evidence against Pakistani non-state actors in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
A 1982-batch officer, Padsalgikar would be the first Maharashtrian police chief of Mumbai in eight years, after D N Jadhav who held the office
between March 2007 and February 2008.
According to government sources, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was keen to bring in Padsalgikar as Mumbai’s police chief but was unable to get the officer repatriated, until now. The proposed appointment is also seen by many as a personal victory for the chief minister, a source added.
Padsalgikar was repatriated to the Maharashtra police cadre on January 15 this year to the rank of Additional Director General of police (ADG). Though Javed had a fortnight left in his tenure, Padsalgikar was brought in early for preparation for his new charge, police sources said. Padsalgikar has been an intelligence officer in Delhi for nearly 12 years.
He also served in the city once earlier as deputy commissioner of zone 2 and DCP (detection) in Mumbai, apart from serving some time in the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police.
State home department officials, however, made another crucial announcement of downgrading the post of Mumbai police commissioner to the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADG).
In October last year, the state government had promoted and transferred former commissioner Rakesh Maria and announced that the post of the commissioner will be of the rank of Director General (DG). Javed, a DG level officer, was then appointed as the new Mumbai police chief for a period of less than four months.
Padsalgikar will take charge of the Mumbai police days after the force completed one of its most complicated years in terms of morale, with several allegations against them in 2015. From the Madh Island ‘moral policing’ raids to display of excessive force that went viral on social media platforms on multiple occasions, the Mumbai police had a tough year in 2015. Officials said they anticipate that Padsalgikar will stress on building a stronger bond between the force and Mumbaikars.
Padsalgikar will also be expected to bring himself up to speed on Mumbai Police’s friendly avatar on social media, an initiative by Javed to create a rapport with city youths.