Rakesh Maria will continue to head investigations into the Sheena Bora murder case till the probe is over, Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi said on Tuesday.
Maria was on Tuesday promoted and posted as the Director General of Police (Home Guards) while DG-rank officer Ahmed Javed was made the police chief of Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the new Mumbai police commissioner said that Sheena Bora murder case will be monitored in a professional manner.
While dismissing reports that all top officials in the team investigating the high-profile Sheena Bora murder were being transferred, Javed said, “I have had a word with the joint commissioner of police (law and order) and the team investigating the Sheena Bora murder will continue to probe. They will not be transferred."
Maria was due to be promoted by September 30, 2015. The Home Department held the changes were made taking into account the law and order factor ahead of the Ganapati
festival, dismissing suggestions that that it has some links with the ongoing investigation in the high-profile murder case.
"Maria has been promoted to the Director General rank and posted as the DG of Home Guards in Mumbai in place of Ahmed Javed. Javed (who was DG-Homeguards) becomes the new CP of Mumbai," Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi said.
He said that post of Mumbai Police Commissioner has been upgraded to 'Director General' rank post.
He said Maria, a 1981-batch IPS officer, had been transferred with "immediate effect" and that Javed, also a 1981-batch IPS officer, will take over as the new CP Tuesday itself.
"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," he said.
When asked about the fate of the ongoing 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. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is away in Japan on a
What Happens To Sheena Murder Case Now?
Maria's had been shifted to Home Guards as part of his 'promotion'. However, this sudden move is bound to raise some questions. This transfer-promotion comes at a time when Maria was in the middle of the one of the biggest investigations in recent times- the Sheena Bora murder case.
ALSO READ: Won’t Allow Sheena Bora Murder Case Turn Into Aarushi Case: Mumbai Top Cop Rakesh Maria
According to reports, Maria was trying to file a complete charge sheet on Sheena murder case within 33 days. It was also being said that Maria was determined to present a watertight case before the court in the matter. As he moves to Home Guards, the investigation will now be handled by junior-level officers.
Promotion Or Demotion
Maharashtra government has denied any ulterior motive behind the transfer-promotion of Maria. It is being said that he was moved out ahead of his scheduled promotion on September 30 as the government wanted his replacement Ahmed Javed to be well prepared to take charge of arrangements for the 'Ganesh Chaturthi' festival.
However, it also being said that Mumbai Police Commissioner is already a DG level post while Maria is being reassigned as DG (Home Guards) which is considered a low-profile post. Given Maria's proven track record in high-profile investigations, a posting to such a position indicates that he has been shunted out.
The Lalit Modi Effect!
Maria has earlier raised eyebrows when reports of him meeting former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi surfaced.
However, Mumbai top cop said that he met the former IPL commissioner during his visit to London back in 2014.
ALSO READ: Lalit Modi Row: Maha CM Fadnavis Seeks Info From Maria On His Meeting With Ex-IPL Boss
As Lalit Modi has been citing security threat to his life since 2010, Maria confirmed the statement and said that the meeting lasted for around 12 to 15 minutes with Modi giving providing statement on the security issue. Maria also informed Modi on his inability to lodge an official report while in London and upon returning back to India, he filed a confidential report which was then submitted to the then state Home Minister, R.R. Patil.
He said, "I was approached by advocate representing Lalit Modi who wanted me to meet him as regards to threat to him and his family’s life in London."
(With Inputs From PTI)