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Azad Maidan violence takes toll,top cop Patnaik is shunted out

Within a fortnight of the Azad Maidan violence of August 11,the Maharashtra government on Thursday promoted — and effectively shunted out — Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik for his alleged mishandling of the incident.

Written by Swatee Kher | Mumbai | Published: August 24, 2012 6:00:07 am

Within a fortnight of the Azad Maidan violence of August 11,the Maharashtra government on Thursday promoted — and effectively shunted out — Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik for his alleged mishandling of the incident.

There was mounting pressure from within the government as well as the opposition for Patnaik’s removal,with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday demanding the resignation of both Patnaik and Home Minister R R Patil.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) Satyapal Singh,an IPS officer of the 1980 batch,is the new police chief of the city.

The file for Patnaik’s transfer had been moved over the last week; the decision was approved by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday. Patnaik has been made managing director of Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC),a body set up after the 26/11 terror attacks to train ex-securitymen who could be appointed to guard establishments such as the RBI,and high-profile individuals seeking police protection.

At a press conference,Home Minister Patil said Patnaik had “not been transferred but promoted” to the rank of director general through a “routine transfer” which was “under process since July 6”. He maintained that the promotion would not affect the morale of the force and they needed to take the decision immediately to ensure that the new officer got enough time to settle in ahead of the festive season.

Patil added that everyone must “appreciate the manner in which the situation on August 11 was brought under control in 20 minutes,and that there have been no repercussions in the city or state since. CP and his team did good work”.

“Patnaik is the seniormost officer and was naturally considered when the new DG (MSSC) post was created. It is a regular promotion. He has not been transferred but promoted. To connect the promotion to recent events in Mumbai would be misinterpretation. The process was under way since July 6. The decision today is part of the process,” Patil said.

Responding to questions regarding Singh,who as commissioner of Pune Police denied security clearance for passport approval to the then Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe given his criminal background,Patil said his appointment has come after a thorough scrutinty of his background and work in major cities like Pune and Nagpur. “His background has been checked and he was the seniormost official. He has done good work in Pune and Nagpur,” Patil said.

According to Patil,the state’s request for more DG-level officers has been approved by the central government recently. The former DGP had moved a proposal on July 6 on which the home department had sought additional information. With the required information,the proposal was sent to home department on August 8,discussed by the chief secretary-headed committee on August 16,and forwarded to the CM for approval.

“A new DG-level post has been created for the state security corporation as it has growing needs. Even today Maharashtra has four DGPs while many other states have 10. The Centre has sanctioned two additional DGs for Maharashtra. The other post will be created by the state,mostly for prosecution,” Patil said.

Along with these two changes,S P Gupta who was in charge of MSSC,has been transfered as additional DGP (Training and Special Operations).

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