Well before the Sheena Bora murder probe began and the Mumbai hooch tragedy came into focus, the state home department, which is headed by the chief minister, had moved a proposal in April this year to transfer former Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria and appoint Ahmad Javed in his place, official documents show.
Documents obtained by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act show that following a discussion held at Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi’s level, the department had on April 11, 2015, submitted a proposal to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, suggesting that the Mumbai police commissioner’s post be upgraded to the rank of Director General of Police (DGP). In the same proposal, it was also suggested that Maria be shifted and replaced by Javed, who is a year senior to the former city police chief.
The home department had originally proposed that Maria be promoted and shifted as Director General (Legal and Technical), a newly created post, which was eventually assigned to Maria’s batchmate – Satish Mathur. But Fadnavis then decided to keep the proposal to transfer Maria in abeyance. After discussions with the CM, Bakshi noted on the file that “Mathur be appointed as DG (Legal and Technical). Other proposals can be considered later.” Accordingly, the home department issued orders for Mathur’s appointment.
The government has denied any link to Maria’s ouster and the probe into Sheena Bora’s murder, which first came to light in August. The hooch tragedy in Malad in which over 100 people died and the controversy surrounding Maria’s meeting with former IPL boss Lalit Modi in London happened in June.
The home department’s proposal owes its genesis to a meeting of a technical screening committee, comprising Maharashtra’s Chief Secretary Swadhin Kshatriya, Bakshi, and DGP Sanjeev Dayal, which on February 20, 2015, found Maria, Mathur, and additional Director General (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar (all 1981 batch) “fit” or eligible for promotion to the rank of DGP.
With the government having accepted the committee’s recommendation, the department proposal in April states “it was necessary to post these officers on positions fitting their new rank”. The department had also proposed upgradation of three additional DG-rank posts, including that of the Mumbai police commissioner, to accommodate the newly promoted officers. Home department sources confirmed that the proposal was active; Fadnavis eventually acted on it on September 8, using powers vested with him under the Maharashtra Police Act to move out Maria.
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