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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ambani home bomb scare, Waze mess fallout: Mumbai Police Commissioner is shunted out

Param Bir Singh was replaced by Hemant Nagrale, a 1987 batch IPS who was holding charge as Director General of Police, Maharashtra, in addition to being the DG, Legal and Technical.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 18, 2021 4:14:18 am
Commissioner of Mumbai newsMumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale has issued directives that prohibit officers, who have served a five-year tenure in the crime branch, from getting an extension or a fresh posting into the same department (Express photo: Pradip Das)

In a major fallout of the case where a Scorpio with 20 gelatin sticks was found parked outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s South Mumbai residence ‘Antilia’ on February 25, the Maharashtra government Wednesday removed 1988 batch IPS officer Param Bir Singh as the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, and posted him as Director General, Home Guards.

Singh was replaced by Hemant Nagrale, a 1987 batch IPS who was holding charge as Director General of Police, Maharashtra, in addition to being the DG, Legal and Technical.

Rajneesh Seth, a 1988 batch IPS officer and DG, Anti Corruption Bureau has been posted as the DGP of the state.

The reshuffle came three days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze in connection with the Ambani terror scare case. The NIA has alleged Waze was the perpetrator of this offence.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday evening said on Twitter Nagrale would be the new Mumbai Police Commissioner. Singh was transferred to Home Guards as DG, which is considered to be a non-executive post.


Sanjay Pandey, who was DG, Home Guards, has been posted as DG, Maharashtra State Security Corporation, a post that he was given additional charge of. Sources said Pandey, the most senior police officer in the state, applied for leave soon after the postings were announced.

Over the last two days, leaders in Maharashtra’s three-party coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi have been in a flurry of meetings to decide on the course of action to be taken in the aftermath of Waze’s arrest, and the damage it had brought to the credibility of the government.

The Opposition, led by former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, had demanded that Singh and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh both be transferred.

“Waze, who was handling several important cases, reported directly to the Mumbai CP. In spite of this, Param Bir seemed not to know what was happening under his nose. This made matters worse for him. The entire episode did not reflect well on his handling of the force,” a senior government official said.

The decision to transfer Param Bir Singh was taken Tuesday night following several meetings between Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. “However, decisions about his replacement and related transfers were being worked on over the past 24 hours,” the official said.

A police officer said soon after Waze was placed under arrest late Saturday night, it was believed the government, that had defended Waze in the Assembly, would have to take some action as a face saver. While Anil Deshmukh has survived as Maharashtra Home Minister, it was clear that Singh may not last as the Mumbai Police commissioner.

In the transfers made by the government, Nagrale, the new CP, is a 1987 batch officer, Seth, who has been appointed the DGP, belongs to the 1988 batch. “While generally the DGP is of a senior batch than the Mumbai Police Commissioner, in this case, since it is just an additional charge being given, it is not a big issue,” an officer said.

Param Bir Singh, who took over as Mumbai Police Commissioner from Sanjay Barve in February 2020, had an action-packed year with the pandemic striking Mumbai the hardest. He was in the midst of several politically-charged cases, from the death of Sushant Singh Rajput to the Television Ratings Points case.

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