Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti, the additional director-general of police (telecommunication), took over as police commissioner from Prasun Mukherjee on Wednesday evening.
Hours earlier, the chief minister had announced that Mukherjee and four other officers of the city force would be transferred for their role in the Rizwanur Rahman case.
“It is important that I have taken charge when Durga puja has started. My only priority now is to ensure a peaceful Puja,” said a smiling Chakrabarti.
“So far, everything is proceeding smoothly and I have been in constant touch with my officers,” he said, while taking his first call as police commissioner from the Lalbazar control room at 8.15pm.
The other officers who have been shunted out are deputy commissioner (headquarters) Gyanwant Singh, deputy commissioner (detective department) Ajoy Kumar, assistant commissioner Sukanti Chakraborty and sub-inspector Krishnendu Das.
Veterans at Lalbazar could not recollect another instance of as many as three IPS officers being shunted out on a single day.
While Mukherjee takes over as additional director-general (telecommunication), Singh will join the enforcement branch as special superintendent and Kumar goes to the intelligence branch as special superintendent.
“In the enforcement branch, Singh has to work under Nazrul Islam, who is the inspector-general. Islam knew about the harassment of and the threat calls to Sadiq Hussain, a witness to Rizwanur’s marriage with Priyanka,” said an officer.
Deputy commissioner (special branch) Vineet Goyel and deputy commissioner (detective department-II) Vishal Garg have been asked to fill Singh and Kumar’s posts, respectively, till further orders. “The arrangement will continue till the Puja,” said state home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray.
The new police chief said he had signed the transfer orders of Sukanti Chakraborty, and Krishnendu Das, both of the anti-rowdy squad, though it’s not clear yet where they are being sent.
Soon after the chief minister’s announcement, Chakrabarti arrived at Writers’ Buildings in plain clothes on getting a call from the home secretary. When he was told that he would have to take over as police commissioner with immediate effect, Chakrabarti pointed out that he was not in uniform. So his driver was sent to fetch the uniform.
Asked whether the force has lost its credibility among the people following the Rizwanur-Priyanka incident, he said: “I spoke to some of my officers on my way to Lalbazar and they didn’t seem demoralised. This is the best time for us to regain the confidence of the people, as we would interact with hundreds of people daily during the Puja.”
Asked whether he would visit the Rahman home, the top cop said: “If necessary, I will go and meet the family members.”
Late on Wednesday, Chakrabarti stepped out on his first assignment as police commissioner — a visit to the Mohammad Ali Park puja.