Mumbai, June 13 (IANS) : Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor Saturday became the latest official to be removed in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks. He will be replaced by D. Shivanandan, an officer known for breaking the underworld's grip on the country's commercial capital and who brings with him years of experience in cracking terror related incidents.
On a day of fast-moving developments, at least 17 top police officers were reshuffled Saturday by the Maharashtra government.
Gafoor has been promoted and posted as director general of the Maharashtra Police Housing Corporation, Home Minister Jayant Patil told reporters here.
An IPS officer of the 1976 batch, Shivanandan, till now additional director general and commissioner of the State Intellgence Department (SID), has earlier served as joint police commissiner (Crime) and in other departments.
He later served as police commissioner of Thane and Nagpur and also served a stint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In a related development, Vinod Lokhande has been appointed police commissioner of Nashik in place of V. Mishra.
Among the major cases investigated by Shivanandan include the attack on mafia don Chhota Rajan Nikhalje in Bangkok and the killing of music baron Gulshan Kumar in Mumbai. He also unravelled the alleged nexus between the underworld and the entertainment industry.
Another major investigation handled and guided by him was the Mumbai links to the 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft to Kandahar. He also probed the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial bombings.
A former aide told IANS that Shivanandan cracked the whip on the Mumbai underworld and successfully broke the backbone of the mafia grip on the country's commercial capital.
"He could extract the best out of any officer. He deals with all officials in an informal manner, by putting his hand on their shoulder and encouraging them to go after the law-breakers," the aide said.
Gafoor's removal and Shivanandan's appointment come in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, following which many officials and leaders were removed or had to step down. They include former union home minister Shivraj Patil, former state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and former deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, who held the home portfolio at that time.
The Maharashtra government had appointed a committee headed by former home secretary Ram Pradhan to inquire into the 26/11 terror attacks.
The opposition has alleged that the committee had given a clean chit to the Mumbai police and demanded tabling of the report in the state assembly.
The Democratic Front government, denying the opposition accusations, said the report would be tabled along with an action taken report (ATR).
For that purpose, it appointed another two-member committee led by state Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar.
The government is expected to table the Pradhan report and the ATR in the Maharashtra legislature early next week.