Mumbai, Aug 23 (IANS): Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik was shunted out on 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 RR 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 on Tuesday led a protest march against the August 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.