In a surprising move, the Maharashtra Home Department moved out Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, in the midst of his investigation into the sensational Sheena Bora murder case. The government promoted Maria to the rank of Director General of Police (DGP) and got him to swap positions with Ahmad Javed, Director General, Home Guards and Commandant General, Civil Defence, who is now Mumbai’s 39th police chief.
To better understand this move by the state government, here are four stories that you should read on Rakesh Maria, the man who had been the face of the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
Sources told The Indian Express that Rakesh Maria was in his office at 10.30 am, chalking out the day’s programme, when he got the letter confirming his promotion and transfer. But there were enough indications that it was not a snap decision, with the government having already issued a temporary order to elevate the rank of police commissioner to accommodate Ahmad Javed who is a DGP.
In the course of several years, Maria has been associated with several terror-related cases. He has also been at the forefront of some of the most high-profile interrogations including the 2008 Mumbai attacks terrorist Ajmal Kasab. Maria’s biggest setback was when a sessions court acquitted Indians Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, shown as co-accused with Kasab in the 26/11 terror attack case. Their acquittal was upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.
It has been revealed that Maria’s removal from the top cop’s post has not been abrupt. In fact, the process was initiated well over a fortnight ago. But The Indian Express has learnt that no meeting of the Police Establishment Board (PEB), which is authorised to make appropriate recommendations regarding postings and transfers of officials, was held in this case. The Maharashtra Police Act says the state government “shall give due weightage to these recommendations and shall normally accept them”.
Mumbai’s new police chief Ahmad Javed is no stranger to the city. In fact, he has served the city in several posts. Javed is an alumnus of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College and has served as Superintendent of Police in Buldhana and Nanded before being posted as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Intelligence, in Mumbai. In 2013, Javed was among the top contenders for the post of Mumbai police chief along with Vijay Kamble and Rakesh Maria. However, he was promoted to Director General rank, which effectively eliminated him from the race.