NEW DELHI: Two days after Maoists killed 25 CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, the Centre on Tuesday appointed Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar as the next Central Police Reserve Force chief. The post had been lying vacant for more than eight weeks because the central government could not agree on a name.
An Indian Police Service officer of the 1983 batch, Mr Bhatnagar is the Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau and has served in the central force mandated to guard sensitive installations, Central Industrial Security Force. He belongs to the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
The Centre had come in for sharp criticism after Monday’s deadly attack for keeping the country’s lead anti-insurgency force headless after its last director general K Durga Prasad retired in February-end. It was Mr Prasad who had set up Andhra Pradesh’s anti-naxal force, the Greyhounds, that inspired the Centre to raise the CRPF’s Cobra battalions to counter Maoists.
For a change, the government also named the director general of the Indo Tibetan Border Police that guards the border with China well in advance. RK Pachnanda will take charge as ITBP chief on 1 July when Krishna Chaudhary retires.
The blame appears to have nudged the Centre to move swiftly to fill the vacancy on Wednesday. A government order conveying the decision of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet indicated it was in response to a communication from Home Minister Rajnath Singh sent hours earlier.
The Home Minister had earlier in the day also chaired a high-level meeting that stressed on the need to strengthen the CRPF’s ability to gather intelligence. It was felt that casualties in Monday’s attack could have been avoided if the security personnel had been tipped off about the presence of a large number of Maoists. Read more..