The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government on Saturday appointed senior IPS officer Param Bir Singh, the current Director General of the state Anti Corruption Bureau, as the new Police Commissioner of Mumbai replacing Sanjay Barve.
Appointment of Singh, who was posted as the Director General of the Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau, was announced a day after state Home Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Anil Deshmukh ruled out granting a third extension to Barve.
Interestingly, the ACB headed by Singh had given a clean chit to NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who is currently the state deputy chief minister, in connection with alleged scam involving 12 Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation projects, in December last year.
Singh's predecessor Barve was recently embroiled in a controversy over granting the work to digitise Mumbai Police records to a firm owned by his son and wife pro bono.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said, "Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Barve is retiring today. Singh has been named as his successor. This announcement has been made after discussion with the honourable chief minister."
Singh had also served as commissioner of Thane Police.
Addressing his maiden press conference after taking charge as the Mumbai police commissioner, Singh said ensuring safety of women will be among his priorities, apart from cracking down on underworld activities, extortion and curbing street crimes.
"My predecessor Sanjay Barve has done a good job. Our priority will be to tackle street crimes and ensuring safety of women. I have had an old association with Mumbai Police," he said.
Singh said that the Mumbai Police and Crime Branch can tackle any challenge on the law and order front.
The new police commissioner said that police will crack the whip on criminals who are trying to extort money in the name of gangsters.
"We will clamp their criminal activities with professional investigation," he added.
When asked about the protests against the new citizenship law, Singh said, "Holding protests is a democratic right, but they should be held as per law. Nobody be allowed to take law into their hands while holding demonstrations".
Meanwhile, the government has directed Bipin K Singh, the Additional Director General of the ACB, to take the additional charge as the DG of the anti-graft agency.
In the past, Param Bir Singh had served as DCP in several important zones in Mumbai, and as Superintendent of Police of Chandrapur and Bhandara districts earlier, a statement said.
He had also served as the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) in the state, it added.
During Singh's tenure as Thane Police Commissioner, police had arrested fugitive Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's younger brother Iqbal Kaskar from Mumbai in 2018. Thane Police had also unearthed a drug racket with Bollywood connections.
Earlier in the day, outgoing Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Barve was given a ceremonial farewell by his colleagues at the Naigaon police headquarters.