Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik was shunted out Thursday, a top home department official said, after coming under criticism over the manner in which he handled rioters here last week. Satyapal Singh was appointed the new police chief.
Speculation about Patnaik’s transfer was rife as the Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had criticised him for failing to curb the August 11 violence at Azad Maidan that claimed two lives and injured many, including 45 policemen. Patnaik defended himself, saying that it was vital that police exercise restraint while handling such a situation.
The three opposition parties have also demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil, accusing him of failing to maintain law and order in the city.
Talk of Patnaik’s transfer gained currency after MNS chief Raj Thackeray Tuesday led a protest march against the Aug 11 violence, defying the Mumbai police, which had refused him permission for the procession from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan.
On Wednesday Patnaik had said that he has ruled out the possibility of resigning. “I am a government employee. I will be fine with whatever post I have been assigned,” he had said when asked if he would resign.
Singh is a Maharashtra cadre IPS officer of the 1980 batch.
Born on November 29, 1955, in Basauli in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, Singh had aimed to become a scientist before he joined the IPS. He is a post-graduate in chemistry and has also done his M. Phil (Chemistry). He has secured an MBA from Australia and is also has an MA and Ph.D in Public Administration.
Singh’s first posting was assistant superintendent of police of Nasik. He then went on to become the superintendent of police of Buldhana.
Prior to being appointed the Mumbai police chief, Singh was Maharashtra’s additional director general of police. He has also served as the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Mumbai, Nagpur’s police commissioner special inspector general of police of the Konkan range.
He has also been on deputation to the CBI and received a special service medal for extraordinary work in the in Naxalite areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He received the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2004, the President’s Police Medal for meritorious service in 1996 and the DG’s Insignia in the same year.