SORRY, BUT WCAD
That, perhaps, is the government’s answer in the handling of the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s appointment. It may take a hard-nosed investigating team (perhaps the one on the Sheena Bora case?) to get them to say more
Whatever the stated intention of the Maharashtra government, in ‘routinely’ reassigning roles of two competent senior police officers, it speaks only of two things. Inept communication and non-verbal posturing indicating We-Care-A-Damn (henceforth abbreviated to WCAD).
And in its refusal to acknowledge and accept its blundering, it has caused immense damage. Tick messing reputations. Double tick destroying careers.
With a young and able Chief Minister in Maharashtra, one hopes for better governance and astute decision-making. However, recent decisions reflect quite the contrary.
What is worrying is the apparent stubborn WCAD attitude. The latest decision is a case in point. In the abrupt transfer of the Police Commissioner, the government has raised a plethora of troubling questions. These are but just ten of them which, comprehensively and convincingly, the government needs to answer.
- When Maria was to routinely be transferred end September, what was the hurry with only 20 days to spare?
The Home Secretary said: We didn’t want to transfer him in the middle of the festival season and create a vacuum in the CP office a-la the previous occasion.
This begs the supplementary question: Could the government not have held Maria back till the festival season was over, given that the Government insists it had no issues with his competency. Isn’t the existing officer better placed to handle Mumbai’s festival season than someone who would be just a week old in the hot seat?
- If the post of the CP (currently being held by an Additional DG ranking officer, which Maria was till recently) was being upgraded to that of a DG ranking officer, then pray why did they not continue with Maria himself? Haven’t other officers stayed in the same job beyond their tenure earlier?
- If this was such a ‘routine transfer’, why was it done in a hush-hush manner and Maria informed of it the same morning or possibly the previous night? Or are HR protocols and niceties not part of thick- skinned politics?
- Javed, a highly competent officer in his own capacity and with much experience in Mumbai too, retires a few months from now. When a government claims to be talking long term, why did they bring in someone with a short term in mind? Doesn’t Mumbai deserve someone with a longer tenure or do we have a paucity of competency?
- By upgrading the position of CP to that of a DG, haven’t you distanced the goal post for so many IPS officers of the rank of Spl IGs and fresh Addl DGs? For those who dreamt of becoming CP in five years, it will now take ten years. Or will the rules keep changing to please whims?
- By booting Maria out and then bringing him back to head a particular case (you once questioned why the CP is showing interest in one particular case and now you endorse his ‘interest’ by assigning it back to him), what signal are you sending to the new CP? We trust you, Mr. Commissioner but…?
- Whom does Maria report to for the Sheena case? The government? The CP? Anew extra constitutional authority being created for this one case? Whom does the investigating team report to? To Javed or to Maria?
- What are the grounds on which a new CP gets chosen among equals (equal ranking officials to be more precise? Don’t we have a right to know? Don’t THEY have a right to know?
- Earlier, citizens knew how these decisions were taken. But can you possibly explain the rewritten procedure followed this time?
- And what about the much celebrated hand-over of the baton from one Police Commissioner to another? Did that happen at all?
The Chief Minister may be well-meaning but the methods of communication, both verbal and non, have distorted the message. Assuming of course he did intend well.