Special Commissioner post may adversely affect police force

Retd officials say Mumbai is one Commissionerate and should be headed by only one person; new post will result in dual centres of power

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Wednesday, January 04, 2023, 02:38 AM IST
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Picture for representation | File Photo

Mumbai: Reports in a section of the media about the State Government planning to appoint senior police official Deven Bharti as Special Commissioner of Police of Mumbai have created a tumult in the city’s police circles.

Sources in the police said the objection is not to the appointment of Mr Bharti, but to the creation of a new post of Special Commissioner of Police. Officials speaking to the Free Press Journal said on condition of anonymity that the reported move will adversely impact the working of the police force in a big way.

“Mumbai is one Commissionerate and should be headed by only one person. The unprecedented creation of a new post will result in dual centres of power. And this should be avoided at all costs,”' a senior police official said.
Mr SS Suradkar, an IPS officer who retired as Special Inspector-General of Police, told this newspaper that the reported move is fraught with dangerous consequences unless the government is also thinking of dividing the Commissionerate. “Otherwise the city police force should have only a single commissioner with a chain of command as at present. The appointment of a Special Commissioner will prove to be problematic,”' he opined.

The present Commissioner of Police Vivek Phansalkar was appointed by the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government during the last few days of its tenure. An officer of the 1989 batch of IPS, he took over from Mr Sanjay Pandey, who retired as commissioner on June 30 last year.

There was speculation that Mr Phansalkar may be moved out from the post of Commissioner of Police by the government of Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis as his appointment was made by the Uddhav Thackeray ministry. However, Mr Phansalkar appears to be enjoying the confidence of the new government as well.

However, the State Government cannot also ignore the claim of Mr Bharti who has vast experience in policing the metropolis. There were certain allegations against him, but these were found to be untrue following an inquiry ordered by the Home Ministry. He has received a clean chit from the government 

“Maybe that is the reason why the State Government is toying with the idea of creating a new post with the area of responsibility clearly demarcated,”' a source in the ruling BJP observed. Mr Phansalkar did not respond to messages. 

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