The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) may have got a new chief - Rakesh Maria, recently but more than 50 per cent of vacancies in the squad are yet to be filled.
The three top posts that are lying vacant are those of the deputy commissioner of police, (rest of Maharashtra), superintendent of police (intelligence cell) — a crucial role that requires an officer to be responsible for intelligence gathering and monitoring movement of known anti-national elements in the city - and superintendent of police (technical cell), who is responsible for monitoring cell phone networks and Internet connections being used by terror suspects.
Maharashtra police chief A.N. Roy indicated to HT that the vacant posts in the state’s counter terror agency will not be filled up soon. “We cannot fill these posts with just anybody. Only those with the required skill and aptitude will be posted,” he said.
The ATS has a sanctioned strength of 700 personnel and it currently it needs to fill more than 350 positions across ranks.
Bringing the new Force One commando force within the ambit of the ATS has made things worse as there is no dedicated senior police officer to head the 220-member force.
“The problem persists due to the unwillingness of policemen across the ranks to join ATS,” said a senior police officer, who had a stint with the ATS, on conditions of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. “It is also because the agency does not have a proven track record.”