Mumbai: A key post created in the Maharashtra Police to combat terrorism and the Maoist menace in the state after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks was downgraded within four months, an RTI query has revealed.
The post of Director-General of Police - Special Operations (DGP-OS), was downgraded a notch to Additional DGP-OS, according to the reply from the DGP office to the RTI query by activist Anil V. Galgali.
"This inexplicable degradation of such a sensitive post raises suspicions over the government's commitment to tackling the terror and Maoist menace in the state," Galgali told IANS.
The post - sixth in the rank of DGPs in the state - was created after the Mumbai terror attacks and to counter the Maoist menace in the eastern parts of the state, especially Gadchiroli district.
"... the 26/11 terrorist attack and the ever increasing activity of Naxalites on its borders warranted a need for strengthening the police system," the DGP office said in its reply, conceding the requirement.
It also said that coordination was required to be established with the central forces and the bordering states of Maharashtra to counter the increasing Maoist terror through this new post.
After it was created, senior IPS officer Jayant Umranikar was appointed the first DGP-OS and he continued till Dec 31, 2009.
Later, the post remained vacant for nearly two months and subsequently five officers in that rank were appointed, mostly for brief tenures, Galgali said.
The incumbents were Sanjeev Dayal (Feb 26, 2010 - May 31, 2010; after a gap of almost one year S.P. Gupta was appointed (May 27, 2011 - June 25, 2012), P.K. Jain (June 26, 2012 - Feb 28, 2014), and the current incumbent Bipin Bihar (Nov 3, 2014 - till date).
The government did not appoint a single officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) as staff officer in the office till date and the responsibilities are being shared by a senior clerk, a junior office superintendent and two junior clerks.
Armed with the RTI reply, Galgali has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding upgradation of the sensitive post and appointment of capable officers of the relevant ranks along with proper staff.
"Many a times, it is seen that after any major crisis, the government shows promptness, but eventually loses interest in its own decisions which eventually erodes credibility among the people," Galgali observed.