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Thursday, August 23, 2012

‘CP’s transfer unfair, will send wrong message’

Mumbai: Retired police officers and security experts on Thursday questioned the rationale and timing of the decision to transfer Arup Patnaik. 
    The move came just two days after Raj Thackeray slammed Patnaik and home minister R R Patil over the way the August 11 violence was handled and demanded their resignation. On Thursday, though, the government sought to clarify that the transfer was part of a"systematic procedure". 
    Former IPS officer Y P Singh said it appears that the government wants to promote Raj in order to tackle the Shiv Sena. "Patnaik's transfer has sent the wrong message and is unfair. If the government wanted to transfer Patnaik, it could have done so after a thorough inquiry. It clearly looks like a punishment transfer and promotion. Patnaik has been made the scapegoat," added Singh. 
    Former Mumbai police commissioner M N Singh said the August 11 episode might not be the only reason for Patnaik's transfer. "I would not like to give credit to Raj Thackeray, he is just trying to gain political mileage. He had demanded the home minister and police commisioner's resignation, but I don't think the decision was taken due to any political pressure," he said. 
    Singh further said: "I understand the proposal for Patnaik's transfer and promotion was already in the pipeline. It looks like he has been eased out. The police handled the situation very effectively and tactfully on August 11 and we should give them credit for the same. However, Patnaik also fired a DCP in front of everybody that day. Then, a member of his force offered a rose to Raj Thackeray a 
few days later, which was the height of indiscipline. I suspect these incidents did not go down well with the government." 
    Last week, former director general of police S S Puri sent an SMS to Patnaik, appreciating the handling of the violence. The SMS was printed on the first page of the police bulletin meant for internal circulation. 
    A senior police officer said the decision seemed hurried. "The promotion and transfer file was pending with the government; it could have waited for a few more weeks. Now, some parties will take advantage of the move. Patnaik was handling the city effectively and knew how to manage big crowds." 

'Tough man who did some good work' 
Arup Patnaik's transfer evoked mixed reactions from members of the police force. While a section of senior officers said he was a hard taskmaster, lower ranked cops remained tightlipped. 
    Sources said Patnaik did a lot of good work. "He was tough on his men as he wanted to enforce discipline. He wanted the police station to be like a corporate office and give policemen a clean and healthy environment. Patnaik took several initiatives and started at least two good canteens at the police headquarters and the Esplanade court, with subsidized and healthy food. He wanted his men to stay in shape," said an officer. 
    Patnaik went to cop quarters to check the living conditions there and even paid surprise visits to police stations to check if they were clean. "The only problem with Patnaik was that he could be really rough," said a senior officer.—S Ahmed Ali


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