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Speculation rife on Mumbai police commissioner's transfer

Wednesday August 22, 2012 10:58:05 PM, IANS

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Mumbai: Speculations are rife that Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik might be transferred over mishandling Aug 11 violence at Azad Maidan that killed two and injured many, including 45 policemen.

The Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have criticised Patnaik for failing to curb the violence. The city police chief defended himself, saying that it was vital that police exercise restraint while handling such a riot situation.

The three opposition parties have also demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil, accusing him of failure to maintain law and order situation in the city.

"This is only being discussed in the media. There is nothing of this sort officially," a top official in the Chief Minister's Office told IANS, discounting rumours that a proposal to transfer Patniak was pending with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

However, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is an ally of the Congress-led government in Maharashtra, said that not just Patil is at fault.

NCP state chief Madhukar Pichad said that it is not only Patil's failure. "The entire state government has failed in maintaining a law and order situation," he said.

The talk of Patnaik's transfer gained currency after MNS chief Raj Thackeray Tuesday led a protest march against the Aug 11 violence, defying Mumbai police, which refused him permission for the procession from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan.

Although Patnaik remained tight-lipped over the transfer, he ruled out the possibility of resigning. "I am a government employee. I will be fine with whatever post I have been assigned," he said.

Reputed to be among the most honest officers in the Mumbai police force, Patnaik hails from an affluent family background and has consistently refused to be cowed by political forces.

Prior to being posted as the city police chief, Patnaik has served in Mumbai as deputy commissioner of police, additional commissioner of police and joint commissioner of police.

Patnaik was the deputy commissioner of police when Mumbai was hit by serial bomb blasts on March 13, 1993.

Patnaik has often said that it was a life-altering event for him. He was also directly involved in the investigations of the Lokhandwala shootout and the 7/11 serial blasts in Mumbai suburban local trains.







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