Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had sought the position of Director General, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Maharashtra home department officials confirmed Wednesday. A fortnight ago, sources said, when state government officials met Maria and asked him the posting he preferred, he showed interest in becoming the next ACB chief.
The post of DGP, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is considered the next most coveted posting in the state after the Director General of Police, Maharashtra.
But sources added that with the current government’s perception of Maria being close to the previous government, that posting seemed difficult. The ACB is currently probing corruption cases against NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal. A senior official said while his promotion and transfer was pending, a shift before due date was planned to avoid this hiccup.
On September 30, when 1977 IPS batch officer Sanjeev Dayal retires as Maharashtra DGP, his batchmate Pravin Dixit, who heads the ACB, automatically becomes the next contender for the state DGP post. After Dixit, Maria would have become the obvious candidate for the ACB chief’s post based on his seniority and age.
According to sources, with Maria being made to swap roles with 1980 IPS batch officer Ahmad Javed before September 30, the government ensured that other officers joined the race for the ACB chief’s post. “The state government which perceives him to be close to NCP had reservations about appointing him the next ACB chief,” a senior official said.
Now, with Maria out of the way, his batchmates Satish Mathur and Meeran Borwankar and 1980-batch’s Vijay Kamble stand a chance to become the ACB chief.
Maria, however, was learnt to have expressed his displeasure after receiving his transfer order Tuesday. “For over two hours, he was upset over the unceremonious manner in which his promotion order came in. He also hinted at resigning or proceeding on leave. By afternoon, the media projected his transfer as an excess of power on the part of the government. As a face saving measure the state government immediately issued a verbal order at 7 pm directing Maria to continue supervising the Sheena Bora murder probe,” said a senior official.
On Wednesday, a written order was also sent from the state home department directing him to supervise the probe in the case.
However, a source close to the officer said he was now unwilling to take forward the murder probe.
“While Maria has been appointed supervisory officer, it is not clear who he will report to. The team will be required to brief Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed on major developments. Now, with two senior officers at the helm, junior officers will be confused and this might worsen the case,” added the source.
Meanwhile, Khar Police team probing the Sheena murder case visited their new boss Ahmad Javed on Wednesday evening and briefed him about the probe.
Sources also indicated that Maria was planning to “avail a long leave” after September 30. However, in response to a text-message by this newspaper, Maria denied reports of resigning.
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