WITH the repatriation of IPS officer Dattatray Padsalgikar to the Maharashtra cadre, the suspense over who will be Mumbai’s next commissioner of police is now over.
According to sources in the state home department, Padsalgikar will take over the reins from incumbent Mumbai Police chief Ahmad Javed, who is India’s Ambassador-designate to Saudi Arabia. He will be relieved of his duties whenever the Central government requests the Maharashtra government to do so.
“Javed retires on January 31, but in all likelihood the Central government will ask him to take charge as the ambassador of Saudi Arabia before his tenure comes to an end so that it saves them the exercise of issuing an ordinance. An ordinance announcing the appointment of Javed as the ambassador will have to be issued if he takes charge post retirement,” explained a senior official from the state home department.
On December 11, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a press release announcing the appointment of Javed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“One of the reasons behind repatriating Padsalgikar a fortnight before Javed’s retirement is to ensure that whenever the Central government makes the request to the Maharashtra government to relieve him of his duties, they are prepared with his successor,” added the source.
A 1982-batch officer, Padsalgikar would be the first Maharashtrian police chief of Mumbai after almost a decade, after D N Jadhav who held the office between March 2007 and February 2008.
According to sources, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, was keen to get Padsalgikar as the 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.
“Last year, following the unceremonious exit of Rakesh Maria, the CM was very keen to get Padsalgikar, but the Central government was not keen to repatriate him. Post the appointment of Javed as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the CM again made a request to the Centre to allow Padsalgikar to be sent back to his parent cadre and this time he succeeded,” added the source.
Sources claim the proposed appointment of Padsalgikar is unprecedented as the general practice is that an officer who has served for over a decade with the Intelligence Bureau is appointed as the Director General of Police of a state and not the chief of a commissionerate. “Padsalgikar has served around 12 years with the IB so ideally he should have been appointed as the DGP of Maharashtra. In the present case, he would be elevated to the post of the Director General before being appointed as Mumbai CP since currently the post is of a DG-rank,” said the
Known for his honest and upright image, Padsalgikar has vast experience in counter-terrorism operation. He played a crucial role in gathering clinching evidence against Pakistani non-state actors involved in the 26/11 attack.
“Padsalgikar was one of the nodal officers who got the telephonic intercepts from USA between the handlers and the terrorists thereby nailing their role in the case ,” added the officer.
He has also served 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.
“He has been repatriated and has resumed his duty from Thursday. Currently he is being appointed as the Additional Director General of Police, Maharashtra, but has not been given any posting,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Home ) KP Bakshi said. Bakshi however refused to comment on Padsalgikar being considered for the post of Mumbai Police chief.