Heads were expected to roll following the August 11 violence, and it seems NCP wants the first to be that of city police chief Arup Patnaik.
Sources say the RR Patil-led home ministry has sent a proposal to CM Prithviraj Chavan asking for the top cop’s transfer. The request was made on August 18, the day PM Manmohan Singh went to Delhi after completing his two-day Mumbai tour.
The reason being cited is that Patnaik deployed female constables — some of whom were allegedly molested — even though there was no possibility of women joining the protest rally on August 11. The incident, Mantralaya sources say, has immensely disturbed the government, which is finding it tough to clear its position.
While NCP is trying to build a stronger vote base and wants to deflect flak for the riots, the chief minister is reportedly not too keen on ousting Patnaik at the moment. Sources say the top cop may get a promotion to avoid a backlash from the media and the minority community.
Raj Thackeray too hit out at Patnaik yesterday, but government sources say that is essentially because of the latter’s campaign against a few hotels doing business by flouting norms and operating as pickup joints. Patnaik was harsh on MNS during the party’s agitation at toll nakas and demonstrations at a movie set where brother of MLA Pravin Darekar was booked.