CM Devendra Fadnavis pulling all stops to get his man as top cop

With Centre saying it can spare Datta Padsalgikar only if he is made DGP, Devendra Fadnavis is using his rapport with Delhi

An administrative issue is all that stands between Datta Padsalgikar and the post of Mumbai police commissioner.

Also read: Top IB man could be Mumbai's new Police Commissioner

Responding to the state’s request to relieve the senior Indian Police Service officer of his duties at the Intelligence Bureau, the Centre has said it can make such an exception only if the officer in question is being made the Director General of the state police. Padsalgikar is currently an additional director at the IB.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to ensure that Datta Padsalgikar (left), who will serve in the IPS till August 2018, comes as Mumbai police commissioner. File pics
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to ensure that Datta Padsalgikar (left), who will serve in the IPS till August 2018, comes as Mumbai police commissioner. File pics

With Praveen Dixit — who will retire in July — having already begun his term, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to ensure that Padsalgikar, who will serve in the IPS till August 2018, comes as Mumbai CP.

“Fadnavis has been very careful in deciding Padsalgikar for Mumbai’s most important and sensitive post,” said a senior government officer aware of the developments. “He consulted several retired IPS officers before asking the Centre to relieve Padsalgikar.”

Sources close to the CM said Fadnavis is using all his goodwill and pulling all strings in an all-out effort to convince the Centre to make exempt Padsalgikar.

“The CM has been in touch with the Union government and, using his good rapport with New Delhi, he is hopeful of getting Padsalgikar back home before Ahmad Javed retires on January 31,” said the official.

Padsalgikar is considered as an upright and neutral officer, who is not known to be close to any political group or leadership in Maharashtra. He has been serving for several years in elite agencies like IB away from his home state. If his appointment comes through, the CM expects him to be able to act without any bias and check factionalism in the city police force. His national and international exposure is seen as an added advantage.

Other contenders
In case the Centre is firm in its stand, the CM (who also holds the home portfolio) will have to choose the commissioner from among director generals who are currently serving in the state or downgrade the Mumbai CP’s post to select one of the several additional director generals.

The state has upgraded the post of Mumbai police commissioner to DG to enable the appointment of Ahmad Javed following Rakesh Maria’s removal.

If the CM were to select a DG, he has choices in Satish Mathur, Vijay Kamble, Meeran Borwankar and Rakesh Maria. Of these, Kamble does not have much time left in service and will retire next month.

Maria has already served the position, so he is virtually out of the race. Borwankar is keen on the post, but the government is not very interested in getting her. That leaves Mathur, with two and a half years of service left, as the hot contender.

In case the post is downgraded and an additional DG is made CP, the appointment will be at the government’s discretion, meaning that it can overlook seniority while looking at the list of officers in the reckoning.
However, sources said that the CM was not interested in having any particular officer superseding seniors.

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