Twelve days after Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief, K P Raghuvanshi, disclosed sensitive details of a plot to attack Mumbai, the government replaced him with city police’s crime branch chief Rakesh Maria.
Maria, a 1981 batch Indian Police Service officer, has also been promoted as an additional director general of police and asked to take charge of the ATS "with immediate effect".
Raghuvanshi has been transferred to the state police headquarters as additional director general of police (law and order). The post was lying vacant for the last three months."
Home department sources said that Raghuvanshi was removed as Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was furious with him for revealing details of a Pakistan-based handler of two alleged terror operatives arrested on March 13.
The handler, who was being monitored by central intelligence agencies, dropped off the radar after Raghuvanshi’s disclosure, sources said.
Soon after Raghuvanshi's press conference, the union home ministry had told the Maharashtra government to take action against Raghuvanshi. Initially, Home Minister R R Patil was unwilling to crack whip on Raghuvanshi.
However, he had to shift him due to pressure by the Centre as well as Chief Minister Ashok Chavan. As such, Patil decided to ease the ATS chief out as part of the routine transfer but appointed him in a significant post as additional director general (law and order)--considered as one of the key posts in state police, said the sources.
The sources also said Rakesh Maria was chosen to head the anti-terrorist squad due to his track record and the choice was unanimous.
For the record, the home department said it was a routine transfer.
"Please don't read too much into it. These are routine transfers and promotions," said additional chief secretary (home) Chandra Iyengar.