Trouble is brewing in the senior echelons of Maharashtra’s IPS circle over the appointment of Rakesh Maria as the head of Mumbai’s 40,000 strong police force, whose candidature was strongly pushed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Two senior officers — Ahmed Javed and Vijay Kamble — both from the 1980 batch are contemplating resigning from the force to protest the move of the NCP-controlled Home Ministry in superseding them and appointing Maria, a 1981 batch officer, as the Mumbai Police Commissioner.
The NCP was keen on getting Maria appointed as the Mumbai Police Commissioner, while the Congress was weighing between Javed and Kamble.
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“I am disappointed. If you know all the facts and if you think as a rational human being, you will draw the same conclusion,” senior IPS officer Ahmed Javed said, adding that he was reserving his comment on his next course of action.
Javed, who was serving as the Additional Director General (Law and Order), was on Friday promoted as Director General (Home Guards) by the state government on the recommendations of the Police Establishment Board (PEB).
Javed’s main grouse is the delay that the state government made in undertaking an IPS reshuffle in the state. Despite a large number of senior posts, including those of the director generals falling vacant in April 2013, the state government had refrained from making any change as there was no consensus between Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on who should be made Mumbai’s Police Commissioner.
Senior officials believe that the delay in the reshuffle was deliberate on the part of the NCP to ensure the ascension of Maria as the commissioner. Another senior officer, Vijay Kamble, is also miffed at being overlooked for the post. This despite the fact that he is the seniormost officer of the Additional Director General (ADG) rank in the state. A Commissioner of Police, as per rules, is selected from the ADG-level rank. There were also indications that with the elections round the corner, the selection of a Dalit commissioner would send a right signal to the public.
The Police Establishment Board, comprising Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Amitabh Rajan, state DGP Sanjeev Dayal and DGP (ACB) Praveen Dixit had recommended three names as Mumbai Police Commissioner after their meeting on February 10. Besides Kamble, the other names were of ADGP (Establishment) Satish Mathur and ADGP (ATS) Rakesh Maria.
Kamble was not available for comment, but he has dropped indications that he is unlikely to take over as Thane Police Commissioner anytime soon.
Home Department officials were, however, categorical that they followed all the rules before announcing the promotion of officials. “We have followed all the rules. If anyone has any grievance, there are redressal mechanisms. However, in the case of transfers, it is the government’s prerogative on who it thinks is the most suitable for a particular post,” said Amitabh Rajan, Additional Chief Secretary (Home).
Interestingly, the 180-strong IPS force in the state has seen senior officers taking voluntary retirement. Last month, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh had taken VRS to join the BJP. Meanwhile, former IPS officials have claimed that such public display of dissension was not good for the force.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate for anyone to not accept or be unhappy with a posting. A posting is not a reflection on anyone’s seniority,” said K Subramaniam, former Director General of Police (Maharashtra).