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Monday, June 21, 2021

Deshmukh, Telgi, Malegaon, Elgar cases: New CBI chief’s long run in Maharashtra

Currently CISF chief, he has also served for long in Maharashtra, including in the ATS, as the Mumbai Commissioner of Police and the Maharashtra DGP.

Written by Mohamed Thaver , Deeptiman Tiwary | Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: May 26, 2021 7:24:13 am
Subodh Kumar Jaiswal will serve as CBI chief for 2 years.

The new CBI Director, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, is a 1985-batch IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre with long stints in the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), who incidentally has never served in the agency he was chosen on Tuesday to head.

Currently CISF chief, he has also served for long in Maharashtra, including in the ATS, as the Mumbai Commissioner of Police and the Maharashtra DGP. It was while heading the state police last year that he clashed with then Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh over police transfers.

In a reversal of fortunes, as CBI chief, Jaiswal will now be probing the corruption charges made by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh, who has since stepped down from his post.

The government order announcing Jaiswal’s appointment said he would serve as CBI Director “for a period of two years from the date of assumption of charge of the office or until further orders whichever is earlier”.

While he headed the Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force, Jaiswal had investigated the Telgi fake stamp paper scam, which was later taken over by the CBI. In the ATS, he was part of the investigation into the 2006 Malegaon blasts case.

He had been in R&AW for almost a decade when the BJP formed the government in Maharashtra under Devendra Fadnavis, and Jaiswal, who hails from Dhanbad in Jharkhand, was handpicked for the much-sought post of Mumbai Police chief.

Jaiswal went on to become the Maharashtra DGP, and under his supervision, the Elgar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon violence cases were investigated, before they were transferred to the CBI.

After the Maha Vikas Aghadi government replaced the BJP in the state though, there were constant reports of disagreements between Jaiswal and the new dispensation, especially the Shiv Sena, on running of the police department.

Jaiswal openly expressed unhappiness at “intense lobbying” by officers for postings with then home minister Deshmukh. He even refused to sign off on some transfers, but eventually had to give in. It was during this time that State Intelligence Department chief Rashmi Shukla carried out phone taps to expose an alleged ring of “brokers” with political connections who were fixing transfers of police officers for cash. Jaiswal forwarded the investigation to then Additional Secretary Home Sitaram Kunte asking for a “comprehensive enquiry” by the state CID.

The Maharashtra government alleged in March this year that Shukla had misled the government while obtaining permission for the phone tap, and said there was no evidence in the investigation to show any malpractice or corruption. The state police is now investigating Shukla, who is currently posted in the CRPF at Hyderabad, for allegedly leaking the contents of her investigation.

It was after the row over the transfers that Jaiswal sought Central deputation, which was promptly cleared by the state government. In January this year, he was named the CISF chief and moved to Delhi. Fadnavis alleged at the time that Jaiswal had become “frustrated” by the state government’s “interference”, and the state had lost a “competent” officer.

Jaiswal is also known to be a history buff, and it was under him that the project for a police museum at the Mumbai Police headquarters had gained momentum.

Jaiswal was the senior-most among the three officers shortlisted for the CBI Director’s post, and considered by the Prime Minister-led Selection Committee on Monday — the other two being Sashastra Seema Bal chief K R Chandra and Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, V S K Kaumudi.

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