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KP Raghuvanshi is new Maharashtra ATS chief

Last updated on: June 12, 2009 00:04 IST
Maharashtra government on Thursday appointed senior Indian Police Service officer K P Raghuvanshi as the chief of Anti-Terrorism Squad hours after the Bombay High Court pulled up the authorities over the crucial body remaining headless since the killing of Hemant Karkare in terror attacks in Mumbai last November.

The appointment of Raghuvanshi, at present additional director general of police, was announced by state Home Minister Jayant Patil on Thursday evening. Raghuvanshi was holding the additional charge of ATS so far, in addition to his posting as Additional Director General.

Earlier in the day, a division bench of Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari, while hearing one of the several Public Interest Litigations filed on alleged security lapses during November terror attacks, said, "We are sorry to note that head of ATS has not been appointed though more than seven months have passed (after the terror attacks in which Karkare was killed)".

"We are unable to appreciate this attitude," the court said, directing that the post be filled within four weeks. During the hearing on the petition by advocate V P Patil, the judges asked public prosecutor Satish Borulkar about newspaper reports that no senior IPS officer was willing to take up the post of ATS chief.

The court also pulled up the chief minister-appointed state security council for not taking a single decision, though it met twice after its constitution following the 26/11 attacks.

"What decision council has taken? Is this how you treat lives and security of citizens?" the Chief Justice said adding, "We express concern about security and welfare of citizens in the state of Maharashtra".

SSC was set up by Chief Minister immediately after the attacks but the HC noted that it has not passed a single resolution so far.

"Everybody sang a song and chief minister concluded by saying that I have sanctioned Rs 127 crore," Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar said, referring to minutes of the SSC meetings.

 The court also asked whether all the ATS personnel are given bullet-proof jackets, vehicles, and automatic weapons. A home department official, who was present in the court, could not provide information in this regard. But prosecutor Borulkar assured the court that "best available equipment is given to ATS."

A 1980 batch IPS officer, Raghuvanshi was the first to head the ATS when it was formed in 2004. Earlier he had worked with the Central Bureau of Investigation for a brief period.

In his first stint as ATS chief, Raghuvanshi handled important cases such as 2006 Nanded blasts, 2006 serial train blasts and 2006 Malegaon blasts. Hemant Karkare succeeded him as ATS chief in 2008, and after his death the government had been looking for his replacement.

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