|Raghuvanshi, (below) Maria
Mumbai, March 25: The Maharashtra government today removed anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief K.P. Raghuvanshi, criticised by the Centre for revealing information about a recent terror plot, from the post.
He has been replaced by Rakesh Maria, the 26/11 investigator who had also cracked the 1993 serial blasts case.
Union home minister P. Chidambaram was said to be upset after Raghuvanshi divulged to the media how two Mumbai residents arrested this month for plotting an attack on ONGC installations and two city markets had been picked up.
The officer had said the duos calls to Chacha, a suspected handler in Karachi, had been tracked for three weeks before they were eventually caught. The Union home ministry felt Raghuvanshi had compromised the probe with the disclosure, and was said to have suggested the state take action against him. Raghuvanshi has now been made the additional director-general of police (law and order).
Sleuths tracking Chachas calls and emails said the trail had gone cold after the disclosure. Investigations later revealed Chacha was Bashir Ahmed Khan, a close Tiger Memon associate wanted in the 1993 serial blasts case.
Raghuvanshi was also overseeing the investigation into last months German Bakery blast in Pune, which has made little headway so far. The 1980 batch IPS officer was appointed the first chief of the ATS in 2005 and had probed the 2006 serial train blasts, the Aurangabad arms haul and the Malegaon bombings of 2006.
But today, the officer said he was happy. I am very happy. I had been asking for a transfer for the past few months and I am happy that it has come through, Raghuvanshi said after Maria was named ATS chief.
Additional chief secretary (home) Chandra Iyengar denied Raghuvanshis transfer was done under pressure from the Centre.
This is purely an administrative reshuffle and law and order is clearly a state subject, though we respect the Centres views. Raghuvanshi is one of our senior-most and best officers, Iyengar said.
Maria, who belongs to the 1981-batch of the Indian Police Service, is a veteran of several anti-terror investigations over the years.
He had manned the main police control room on the night of the November 26, 2008, attacks and later conducted the investigation. Maria will report to Sanjeev Dayal, director-general (special operations), a unified command created after 26/11 to supervise anti-terror and anti-Naxalite operations.
As deputy commissioner (crime), Maria investigated the March 1993 serial blasts, the first terror strike on Mumbai. As additional commissioner (crime), he probed the 2003 twin bombings at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar and arrested suspects within 72 hours from a city slum. Later, he busted a large module of Indian Mujahideen allegedly involved in explosions in Delhi, Ahmedabad. Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Surat.