This Article is From Feb 18, 2014

Rakesh Maria: Super cop who inspired Bollywood potboilers

Mumbai's new police commissioner Rakesh Maria (file pic)

Mumbai: As Mumbai's new Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria takes charge of the city's police force, his seniors Ahmed Javed and Vijay Kamble are miffed that they were overlooked for the top cop's job.

Ahmed Javed has been promoted as DG Home Guards and Vijay Kamble has been transferred as Commissioner of Police, Thane. Both have however not taken charge of their new assignments. Sources close Ahmed Javed have told NDTV that he is considering quitting the force. Source say that Mr Kamble too is upset and his still planning his next move.

However Maharastra Home Minister R R Patil, whose party backed Mr Maria for the job, told reporters, "I believe the police officers will maintain discipline. I believe they will follow orders of the government and fulfill their responsibilities towards the security of the people of the state."

Never before has the appointment of the commissioner of police for Mumbai created such a stir. Top police officers in Maharashtra say the government is solely to blame. The political tussle between the Congress and the NCP has led to an inordinate delay in IPS promotions and transfers and that in turn means that senior officers have lost out on a much sought after assignment.

After taking charge as the city's Police Commissioner, Mr Maria told reporters, " It's a dream come true for a young boy from Bandra to become Mumbai's Commissioner of Police."

Rakesh Maria's celebrated and larger than life image has led many to believe that he will be able to tackle the numerous challenges the city's short staffed force faces. Having shot to fame after he cracked the 1993 serial blasts case that rocked Mumbai, Mr Maria's imprint on popular culture as a police officer is unmatched.

His character was portrayed in Anurag Kashyap's critically acclaimed film 'Black Friday' by Kay Kay Menon. The character of Prakash Rathore played by Anupam Kher in 'A Wednesday' was also based on Rakesh Maria. Maria also appeared in Suketu Mehta's non-fictional work 'Maximum City' as Ajay Lal.

Actor Anupam Kher, who has had a long association with Mr Maria and met his before enacting the role, told NDTV, "When you are with Mr. Rakesh Maria you feel comfortable and secure and that is what Prakash Rathore, my character in 'A Wednesday' needed to have."

Mr. Maria, who has handled high-profile cases like the Neeraj Grover Murder Case and the 26/11 investigations, is from Mumbai. He grew up in Bandra and studied in St.Xavier's College, Mumbai.

Father Fraser Mascarenhas, Principal of St Xavier's College told NDTV, "About 10-15 years ago he was playing in the Javed Khan Basketball tournament right here in this court. It is his dedication to excel that has taken his where he is and we are all very proud of his achievement."

However, Mr Maria's appointment is being questioned by Vinita Kamte, widow of 26/11 martyr and Ashok Kamte. She told NDTV, "I fear that the new Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria could try to influence the probe into the circumstances which led to my husband's death. The state information commissioner has asked for details from the state home department about the alleged discrepancy in control room records which was under the control of Rakesh Maria, the then joint commissioner, crime, on the day of the terror attack."

It took a fortnight after Satypal Singh resigned and joined the BJP for the Maharashtra government to find a new Commissioner of Police. Though Mumbai is now relieved, the rumblings in the force were totally avoidable.