Hemant Nagrale was appointed the new commissioner of the Mumbai Police on Wednesday, ANI reported, quoting Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. The previous Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh was transferred and posted as directorate general, home guard, Deshmukh said.
The development came amid the investigation into the explosive-laden car found outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence last month. Singh had met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray earlier on Wednesday, according to PTI.
Hours after taking charge, Nagrale said that the Mumbai police’s image had been “maligned by some recent developments”, and that the city’s force was going through a “challenging phase”, according to the Hindustan Times.
“I have been appointed by the state government to solve the present situation which has brought a lot of embarrassment to the police department,” he said. The officer added that he would try to “restore people’s faith in the city police department with the help of his subordinate officers” and other members of the force.
Nagrale’s predecessor, Singh, had been appointed as the police commissioner of Mumbai in February last year. Before that, he served as the police chief of Thane and deputy commissioner of police in several zones in Mumbai. In October, Singh had revealed the names of three channels, which he said were allegedly rigging television rating points. Republic TV was one of them.
Singh’s transfer came two days after the Mumbai Police suspended Crime Branch officer Sachin Vaze. A day before that, he was sent to the National Investigation Agency’s custody for his alleged role in placing the explosives-laden vehicle at Carmichael road, which is close to Ambani’s residence.
On Tuesday, the NIA had seized a black Mercedes, which was allegedly driven by Vaze. The agency recovered the license place of the SUV found outside Ambani’s residence and cash from the car.
The SUV laden with explosives was found outside near Ambani’s residence on February 25. It also had a note threatening the industrialist and his wife Nita Ambani. The car belonged to auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiren, who had filed a stolen report with the police on February 17. Hiren was found dead in a creek near Mumbai on March 5.
Hiren’s wife has alleged that Vaze, the first investigating officer in the bomb scare case, had used the car for four months and returned it on February 5. She has also accused Vaze of having a role in her husband’s death.