Mumbai Commissioner of (CP) Sanjay Pandey is retiring at the end of June and several contenders are front runners for the prestigious post of the next police chief. Hectic lobbying and backroom parlays are on among the contenders for the post.
While Pandey has denied asking for an extension, sources claimed that his name is being pushed for a three-month extension.
It is unlikely that the state government will send a proposal for extension of Pandey as the Mumbai police chief and the Centre will approve it. The state government will appoint an officer of its choice as the commissioner in view of the forthcoming municipal elections.
Current DGP Rajneesh Seth is the foremost contender to be the Mumbai police chief if Pandey does not get an extension. Others in the race include Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, Vivek Phansalkar of the Police Housing Department and Sandeep Bishnoi based on their seniority.
The names of Thane CP Jai Jeet Singh, Pune CP Amitabh Gupta, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayander CP Sadanand Date and Prabhat Kumar holding additional charge of Director General Anti Corruption Bureau are also being discussed.
While the NCP and Shiv Sena would prefer a Marathi person for the post, alliance partner Congress is keen to have the senior IPS to hold the reigns of Mumbai.
Pandey took a tough stand after taking over as commissioner in the conflict between the Central government and state government, but the MVA government is said to be unhappy with his 'public welfare' approach.
Former commissioner of police Hemant Nagarale was replaced by the state before the end of his term due to dissatisfaction with his performance and Pandey was appointed as the Mumbai police chief.
A few days after Pandey took over as commissioner, a case was registered against senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla at Colaba police station.
While the struggle between the Central government and the state government was going on, Pandey handled the cases of BJP leaders Praveen Darekar and Kirit Somaiya, Navneet Rana, Mohit Kamboj EoW case and issues raised by the MNS. However, after the attack on NCP chief Sharad Pawar's house by the striking MSRTC staff, he came under fire and lost his popularity with the ruling alliance.
“The establishment of Citizen Forum, student competitions across Mumbai, Sunday Street are all burdened by the police force and their public welfare initiatives are considered to be the cause of displeasure,” quipped an IPS officer on request of anonymity.