With only a few days to go before the announcement of the new commissioner of Mumbai police, whispers are abuzz that Additional Director General (ADG) of Police (state traffic) Vijay Kamble and chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Rakesh Maria are the top contenders for the post.
According to rumours, playing the Marathi Manoos and Dalit card, might tip the scales in favour of Kamble to be the city’s new top cop. Sources told MiD DAY that the city has not had a Maharashtrian police commissioner since the posting of former police commissioner DN Jadhav, who served the city from March 1, 2007 to February 29, 2008. Another contender in the race for CP is Meeran Borwankar ADG (prisons), said sources.
The reshuffle of positions will take place on September 30 when Director General (DG) Raj Prem Khilnani will retire, prompting current CP Satyapal Singh to be promoted to DG’s position, possibly being put in charge of the Maharashtra Police Housing Corporation.
Additionally, another post of DG lies vacant since March 31 when DG (Home Guards) Sridevi Doel retired.
Race to the finish
However, even though seniority and the Marathi card play in favour of Kamble, his lack of experience in handling law and order and crime are his weak points.
Meanwhile, Maria has an excellent track record, having tremendous knowledge of crime and terrorism in the city.
But, controversies surrounding Yasin Bhatkal’s accommodation close to the ATS office, pressurising witnesses to give false statements in the Pune German Bakery blast might pose a hurdle for Maria to bag the top cop post.
According to a senior official, the posting will be important as the coming year is election year and the state, is going in for elections.
Meanwhile, in the current scenario where women’s security is the hot topic, appointing a female police commissioner might work as an advantage for the government, hence tipping the scales in favour of Borwankar.
Chances for Maharashtrian CP dwindle in coming years
The chances of having a Maharashtrian CP in the future seem bleak as current Joint CP (Law and Order) Sadanand Date and Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vivek Phansalkar will face stiff opposition from Joint Commissioner of police Himanshu Roy. “In the second lot, chances of Himanshu Roy becoming the new police commissioner are more as he has knowledge of the city. Apart from that in his current tenure, Roy has solved several high-profile cases which will work in his favour,” said a senior police officer. In the coming years, the only Marathi candidate for commissioner’s post is Vishwas Nangre Patil, who is currently posted as the additional commissioner of police (west region).