Congress-NCP tug of war over Mumbai police commissioner's chair
Political indecision smudges appointments of not just city police chief but also two state directors-general, and subsequent posts the chosen candidates would leave vacant
It is clear that picking out a new chief for the city police is not the sole issue straining Congress-NCP interactions. The appointment of Mumbai police commissioner and two directors general (DG) in the state omens a series of changes in the state police force, and the compulsion to adhere to Supreme Court directives only compounds the issue.
First, the Democratic Front state government has to take a call on the city’s police boss. While it is being projected that the fight is between Additional DG Vijay Kamble and Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria, Congress is pitching for Ahmed Javed, additional DG (law and order) for the post.
A commissioner who is DG?
The race became intense with DG (Anti-Corruption Bureau) Raj Khilnani’s superannuation on September 30, taking the number of vacancies at the DG level to two. Even though DG (Home Guards) Sridevi Goyal retired on March 31, the state kept the post vacant, allowing Dr Satyapal Singh to continue as Mumbai’s police commissioner.
Now the state has to nominate two IPS officers for vacant DG posts in the ACB and the Home Guards. The candidates to be promoted are Dr Singh and K P Raghuvanshi, followed by Ahmed Javed whose promotion is due in some time. The state, which has five DG-level posts, can create a sixth one to promote Javed.
It’s not just about the top ranks in the police force, a bunch of transfers and postings at the departmental peak -- because that would set in motion a juggle involving at least half a dozen IG-rank officers who would need to be promoted to Special IG, and an equal number of officials to the IG rank. These officials are waiting for their marching orders since the beginning of the year. But differences between Congress and NCP have ensured that indecision rules.
“Now, if the Congress and NCP go ahead with their own wish lists, the matter is bound to be raised in the SC,” said a senior officer. To avoid any embarrassment, the CM, a Congressman who enjoys powers to transfer IPS officers, and NCP’s home minister have to sit together to carry out the exercise with unanimity on crucial postings.
When contacted, Home Minister R R Patil merely said he was going to discuss the issue of new postings with the CM soon.
Then there is the ongoing matter in the Supreme Court -- Parkash Singh and Others vs Government of India and others -- to inform the decision-making. During the course of hearings, the SC has given certain directives on the procedure to be followed while transferring and posting senior police officers.
A group of retired IPS officers from Maharashtra have intervened in the matter, challenging the provisions of the state act on transfers. The group wants that the state act should not be made applicable to police transfers as it suggests a three-year tenure, as opposed to the Bombay Police Act, which empowers the DG (police) to effect transfers of his officers who have completed two years.
According to sources, the Congress camp -- batting for Ahmed Javed, who was earlier Navi Mumbai police commissioner and transferred before he completed his tenure -- says he can be made Mumbai commissioner even after his promotion to DG.
Congress VS NCP
The NCP’s riposte is that if Javed could be made city police chief even after his promotion, what’s wrong in allowing Dr Satyapal Singh to continue as Mumbai chief as he has been there for just 13 months.
The top five police posts
DG Police: Sanjeev Dayal
DG ACB: Vacant
DG Home Guards: Vacant
DG Housing: Praveen Dixit
MD Security Corporation, a DG-rank post: Arup Patnaik
Officers due for promotion to DG rank
Ahmed Javed, Additional DG (Law & Order)
Dr Satyapal Singh, CP Mumbai
K P Raghuvanshi, CP Thane