State home minister RR Patil announced two senior police positions, one each for the city and the state, on Monday. Ajit Parasnis takes over as director general of police, while Arup Patnaik is Mumbai’s new police commissioner.
“D Sivanandhan, who retired as DG and declined an extension, has been replaced by Ajit Parasnis who was the director general of home guards. Mumbai commissioner Sanjeev Dayal was in line for a promotion, so we took both decisions together. Dayal has been promoted to DG Housing, and additional director general of highway traffic Arup Patnaik replaces him,” Patil said.
The decision was taken at a meeting between Patil and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan at the state headquarters in Mumbai.
Parasnis was selected from among the three names put forward for the post, the others being K Subramaniam, DG (anti-corruption) and Pankaj Gupta, additional DG (planning and co-ordination).
While Parasnis’s appointment was made considering he was the senior-most of the three, Patnaik’s selection was based on his seniority and the fact that he has taken up several postings in Mumbai and knows the city well, a senior home department official said.
The only recruit of the 1979 batch, Patnaik is among the handful of IPS officers who have had a long stint in Mumbai, and has served the force as deputy commissioner, additional commissioner and joint commissioner of police (law and order) in the city.
He is also credited with the recovery of 3,000kg of RDX in the aftermath of the 1993 serial blasts, while serving as deputy commissioner of police Zone 7. Patnaik said his goal was to make the force more accessible.
“There would be no discrimination over anything and everyone will have access to the police,” Patnaik said.
Parasnis’s appointment makes him the second Maharashtrian IPS officer in a decade to head the force after Arvind Inamdar retired as DGP in 2000.
Taking over the baton from Sivanandhan, Parasnis said, “It is a great honour to take over the chair from a friend and batch mate, and someone who has become a legend in his lifetime in the Maharashtra police.”
‘Terrorism, naxalism are on my priority list’
Interview: Ajit parasnis, director general of police
Ajit Parasnis, the state’s new DGP, was drawn to the police force as his father had served as a sub-inspector before retiring as superintendent. A young Parasnis chose to follow in his father's footsteps and joined the Maharashtra police cadre on July 14, 1976, when he was posted as the assistant commissioner of police at Nashik.
Known to be a no-nonsense officer, Parasnis served the force in various departments for more than three decades before he took over as Maharashtra’s director general of police from his batch mate and close friend D Sivanandhan, whom Parasnis described as a ‘legend’.
Though his stint as DGP, as per superannuation, would be of a short four months, Parasnis spelled out in clear terms his priority to tackle terrorism, naxalism and to expedite the modernisation of the police force.
What would be the foremost task on your priority list as the new DGP?
Firstly, it is a great honour to head the force that my father joined as a sub-inspector. The foremost task that comes to mind is to ensure communal harmony in Maharashtra. If there is communal harmony, almost every other aspect falls into place. I would personally like to promote communal harmony.
How do you plan to tackle the growing threat of terrorism?
Terrorism is cause for concern. But, we have our mechanism in place in terms of intelligence gathering and patrolling. We will continue to monitor and will improve each aspect wherever we feel there is scope for improvement.
What about modernisation of the police force?
We are committed to modernising our force. And, I will expedite the process of procuring state-of-the-art equipment, vehicles and the most modern weapons for our force. I want our force to be the best in the country.
Coastal policing, after the terror strike, has become an area of concern. How do we plan to augment our capability and efficacy?
Coastal policing is absolutely important considering Maharashtra has a huge coastline. There are various plans that have been chalked out in consultation with the central government, and the process of implementation is on. We definitely want to improve the force in terms of coastal surveillance.
Considering that you have a short stint as the director
general of police, what will top your list of priorities - in terms of tasks?
Terrorism, naxalism and modernisation of the force in that order, would be my priorities. And, along with that, I would like to create an environment where common citizens can feel absolutely safe.