Mumbai: In an unexpected development, Rakesh Maria was on Tuesday replaced as the Mumbai Police Commissioner and elevated to DG-rank.
As per a Maharashtra Home Department communique, Maria has been promoted as Director General, Home Guards.
Ahmed Javed has now taken over as the Mumbai top cop.
“Rakesh Maria has been promoted to the post of DG, Home Guards and Commandant General, Civil Defence,” said KP Bakshi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home).
“The post of Police Commissioner, Mumbai has been upgraded and Ahmed Javed has been posted on this upgraded post,” Bakshi told ANI.
While Maria's term as Mumbai Police chief was set to expire on September 30 and he was due for a promotion, the immediate transfer has raised eyebrows as the top cop was currently personally overseeing the probe into the Sheena Bora murder case.
In fact, Maria had even interrogated several accused in the case.
The Mumbai Police is believed to be close to cracking the Sheena Bora murder case and was expected to file a chargesheet in the case before Maria's term as Mumbai Police chief was to end.
Reports, meanwhile, also claimed that not just Maria, but the entire team probing the Sheena Bora murder case has been shifted from the Khar Police Station where the case was registered. The same has not been confirmed as yet.
Even new police chief Ahmed Javed hinted that the Sheena murder case could be the reason behind Maria being replaced as Mumbai top cop when he reportedly told a press conference, “The Sheena murder case will be handled properly. Only correct and factual information will be given to the media.”
Bakshi, however, denied any connection between Maria's promotion and the Sheena Bora murder case.
“There is no question of any connection between Sheena Bora murder probe and Rakesh Maria's promotion,” Bakshi said. There is “no political reason behind this, it's a routine transfer”, he added.
"There was no hurry in transferring Maria. It would have been inappropriate to transfer him on September 30, in the middle of the festive season as Ganapati festival, a very important event in Maharashtra would be on at that time. Therefore, we decided to advance the promotion of Maria," Bakshi said further.
When asked about the fate of the Sheena Bora murder case investigation, Bakshi said that all investigations are important and not only this particular case and that the work of the CP is only to supervise the investigation.
"Investigations are conducted by lower-level police officials and supervised by the CP. The new CP is competent. Also, Javed should get enough time to handle the situation in Mumbai," Bakshi said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is currently in Japan on a visit.