The Maharashtra police’s war preparedness following the 26/11 terror strike appears to be a cosmetic makeover.
At least a dozen crucial posts — including that of the top cop of the state — having a direct bearing on the force’s ability to handle contingencies are vacant even a year later.
The latest quarterly list of the Indian Police Service (IPS) and State Police Service (SPS) officers released on December 1 and posted on the state police’s official website www.mahapolice.gov.in, begins with the vacancy for the head of the force, the director general of police (DGP).
Director General (Anti Corruption Bureau) A. N. Roy is holding additional charge of the office since former DGP S S Virk retired two months ago.
Three important posts — of deputy commissioner of police Anti-Terrorism Squad (2) [Rest of Maharashtra], superintendent of police (SP) [special intelligence cell] and SP (technical cell) — are vacant.
This is the same unit that is responsible for countering terrorism.
Force One, the newly formed state commando force, is headless because the administration is yet to find a suitable candidate to take charge as SP.
“Please bring the list to my notice, I will be able to answer,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar told Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
The Mumbai police continue to fill their armoury but there is no senior officer supervising it. Posts of additional commissioner of police (armed forces) and SP (arms inspection)—responsible for inspecting arms and ammunition—are vacant.
The state has seen at least three major Naxal attacks in the past year but the government is yet to appoint an additional director general of police (ADG) Anti-Naxal Operations, after incumbent Pankaj Gupta’s transfer to the human rights cell less than two months ago.
The post of the staff officer to the DG Special Operations—responsible for all terrorist and insurgency related issues—is also vacant.
The state does not even have an additional director general for the State Intelligence Department.
The list also contains names of IPS officers who are ‘missing’—like Marie Fernandes and S. S. Ahire. Four IPS officers have been placed under suspension while one has been dismissed, creating five more vacancies.
A source in the home department said that the number of vacancies has encouraged a few IPS officers — who had resigned from service recently — to make a fresh bid for a posting.
IPS officers Sanjay Pandey [who joined the private sector and later moved court to get a posting in the state police] and Naval Bajaj have been vaguely listed as ‘IPS officers under compulsory waiting’ indicating that they have been given any postings yet.