Minister of State (Home) Ramesh Bagwe put his foot in the mouth on Tuesday by announcing the transfer of Pune police commissioner Satyapal Singh in the Legislative Council in reply to a debate on increase in crime against women and rape cases in the city.
Bagwe made the statement without keeping senior, home minister R.R. Patil or Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the loop. “There is no such proposal,” an irked Home Minister Patil said later. “I am not aware in what circumstances the minister said so,” he added.
Bagwe’s statement is likely to embarrass the government and provide ammunition to the opposition Sena-BJP two days before the ongoing session of the state legislature ends.
Sources said Patil expressed his irritation with Bagwe by backing Singh and saying he had no information about the transfer. He told reporters, “Dr Singh has been doing good work and it is not right to blame him for the spiralling crime rate in Pune. Also such transfer decisions must be taken in consultation with the Chief Minister or the Home minister."
Sources in the home department said that the transfer of Singh was due in two months and such an announcement at the juncture was unnecessary. The official also said that the transfer would not be valid because it required the nod of the Chief Minister and this case both Chavan and Patil were caught unawares.
Bagwe had told the Council this morning, “We will be transferring Singh and replacing him with a more capable person. Also in case of other officers who do not apply necessary laws like MCOCA — we will take action against them.’’ He said this in response to Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe’s claim that Pune rape victims had said cases had not been registered properly by officers.