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Mumbai's new police commissioner speaks about his plans

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While taking charge as the city’s new police commissioner, Rakesh Maria spoke about his plans during his stint; says he will show no tolerance to street crimes and prioritise safety of women, children and senior citizens

“To become the Mumbai Police commissioner is a dream come true for a Bandra boy who used to play football in the lanes of Bandra,” said Rakesh Maria, the 1981 batch IPS officer, while taking charge as the commissioner of police (CP) on Sunday morning.

CP Rakesh Maria at his office. Also seen is Himanshu Roy (seated right), who took over as the new ATS chief from Maria. Pic/Shadab Khan
CP Rakesh Maria at his office. Also seen is Himanshu Roy (seated right), who took over as the new ATS chief from Maria. Pic/Shadab Khan

Fifty-seven-year-old Maria, who superseded several senior IPS officers to become the Mumbai CP, said, “If the politicians took time in deciding who would get the job, it means they have thought it over well and made me the commissioner. I have more responsibility on my shoulders.”

When asked about being picked above several senior IPS officers, he said, “We are in the disciplinary force. We do whatever task is given to us with utmost care.” Maria told reporters he would continue good practices initiated by his successor Satyapal Singh.

“My aim is to provide a transparent and service-oriented police force that listens to the people and solves their issues. Zero tolerance towards street crimes will be our aim,” stated Maria. The CP will soon meet other senior police officers to discuss the issue of crimes in the city and how they can be handled and detected.

Jugglery in force
With Maria’s appointment as the city’s CP, the police force will see a lot of movement of officers from one department to another. Himanshu Roy, the present joint commissioner of police (Crime Branch) will replace Maria as the new chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

He is set to take his set of officers with him to the squad. In his place is Sadanand Date, who is currently joint commissioner of police (law and order). Maria, too, will bring in his team from the ATS to Mumbai police.

Several other officers of the Crime Branch who don’t fall in either group are asking for transfers from the Crime Branch to police stations. A major reshuffle cannot be ruled out. Date, who has the image of a non-corrupt official, is also considered more of a paperwork officer.

Sources in the Crime Branch said it could be difficult to work with an officer like him. “We will follow a wait and watch policy. If the arrangement works, it’s good. Otherwise, we will find some options,” said a senior officer of the Mumbai Crime Branch.

The Maria Mandate
New police chief Rakesh Maria has listed out his priorities for the city. We highlight some pertinent cases or the relevant background behind the mandate.

>> Urban terrorism to be dealt with
On 13 of July, 2011, three blasts ripped through the city at the business hubs of Dadar (West), Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar, killing around 26 people. Terrorism has always been a serious problem in Mumbai, but the state police have not been able to do anything apart from investigating cases after the blasts and arrest the accused.

>> Security of women, children and senior citizens
Women have been continuously under attack, be it the Shakti Mills gang rape, where a photojournalist was sexually assaulted by goons, or the several other cases reported. Children, too, have been victims of sexual assaults and kidnaps. Senior citizens have been murdered, drugged, and robbed of their valuables, mostly by their servants.

>> Organised crime
MiD DAY journalist J Dey’s murder was a unique example of the organised crime syndicate operating in the city. The syndicate, though low-profile, has been betting on cricket matches and running several other business like construction companies.

>> Chain-snatching
Chain snatching cases have jumped up from 800 in 2012 to 1,891 in 2013. Experts say the cost of gold and the easy way to snatch a chain are reasons for it. A robber who flees with one chain gets at least Rs 30,000-40,000 for it. Cops are hardly able to nab the culprits, unless the public catches them.

>> Motor vehicle thefts
There has been a rise in the number of vehicles stolen, due to the upcoming elections. Most stolen automobiles go to other states.

New men-in-charge
K L Prasad: CP, Navi Mumbai
Vijay Kamble: CP, Thane
Himanshu Roy: ATS chief
Sadanand Date: Joint commissioner of police (Crime)
Dr B K Upadhyay: Joint commissioner of police (Traffic)
Dhananjay Kamalakar: Joint commissioner (Law & order)
Madhukar Pandey: Additional commissioner (central region)
Quaiser Khalid: Additional commissioner (traffic)
Milind Bharambe: Additional commissioner (western region)
Brijesh Singh: Additional commissioner (north region)

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