Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria takes charge as Mumbai Police Commissioner

Maria is also considered one of the officers who helped crack down on the Mumbai underworld. (Express Archive) Maria is also considered one of the officers who helped crack down on the Mumbai underworld. (Express Archive)
Express News Service | Mumbai | Posted: February 16, 2014 5:44 pm | Updated: February 16, 2014 5:47 pm

Rakesh Maria was appointed as the Mumbai Police Commissioner Saturday, a fortnight after his predecessor Satyapal Singh quit the post to join politics. Singh, the first serving Mumbai police chief to resign, was due to retire in 2015.

The decision to appoint Maria, currently the chief of Maharashtra Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, was taken after a high-level meeting here chaired by Chavan and attended by Home Minister R R Patil.

Maria, a 1981-batch IPS officer, headed the probe into the 1993 Mumbai blasts and was also in-charge of the investigations into the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. 

Maria’s place at the ATS will be taken by Himanshu Roy, the joint commissioner of police (crime) in Mumbai who has now been promoted to the rank of additional director general. Mumbai police’s crime branch will now be headed by Sadanand Date, currently serving as the joint commissioner of police (law and order). Date’s place will be taken to Dhananjay Kamlakar.

In all, 84 senior officers have been transferred in the latest reshuffle.

Satish Mathur, K L Prasad and Vijay Kamble will take over as police commissioners of Pune, Navi Mumbai and Thane, respectively.

During the past two weeks, ruling alliance partners Congress and NCP had been locked in a tug-of-war over the selection of the new Mumbai police chief.

According to sources, while the NCP pitched for Maria citing his track record and experience, Congress was trying to prevail on the CM to prefer either Ahmed Javed or Vijay Kamble, who were also among the four officers shorlisted by the Police Establishment Board.

A senior Cabinet minister belonging to the Congress said, “Being an election year, we wanted to send a politically correct message that we are not ignoring the candidates representing the minorities or Dalits.”

Sources in the CMO said, “Chavan wanted to go by the rule book, taking into account seniority and other factors.”

Javed was due to be promoted as a director general of police, which made it difficult to consider him for police commissioner’s post, which is lower in the police hierarchy. Eventually, Congress’s choice fell on Kamble, but the NCP finally prevailed.

Maria earned a name cracking tough cases

One of the most talked about IPS officers in the country, 1981-batch officer Rakesh Maria has an enviable track record of solving several high-profile and sensitive cases during his career. 

With a reputation of being a specialist in cracking terror cases, it was Maria who first laid bare the tentacles of the Indian Mujahideen after a series of blasts across the country in 2008.

Be it the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, the Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India blasts, the 2008 terror strikes, the 2010 Pune German Bakery blast and the July 2011 Mumbai triple blasts, Maria played a lead role in cracking them all. Born continued…

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