New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The government on Wednesday appointed senior IPS officer Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar as the new chief of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), two days after the force lost 25 troopers in a deadly Maoist attack in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
Bhatnagar, a 1983-batch Indian Police Service officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was appointed nearly two months after the retirement of previous chief K. Durga Prasad on February 28.
He has been appointed till December 31, 2019, the date of his superannuation or till further orders, a Home Ministry statement said.
Additional Director General Sudeep Lakhtakia, a 1984-batch Telangana cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was handling additional charge as CRPF Director General since March 1.
Prasad, a 1981-batch IPS officer, headed the force for one year from March 1, 2016, to February 28, 2017.
Bhatnagar is currently serving as Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau — an ADGP-rank post temporarily upgraded to a Special Director General of Police rank.
He earlier served as Additional Director General of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Sources said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the nod for Bhatnagar’s appointment considering his seniority.
The Home Ministry had earlier recommended the name of another IPS of 1983 batch, R.K. Pachnanda, but it was apparently turned down by the Prime Minister’s Office. Bhatnagar is the second senior most IPS officer from the 1983 batch after Pachnanda.
A West Bengal cadre officer, Pachnanda has been appointed Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). He will take over from Krishna Chaudhary, a 1979-batch Bihar cadre officer, who is set to retire on June 30.
Pachnanda, presently posted as Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), India’s specialised force for responding to natural disasters, will be appointed to the post till October 31, 2018, or further orders.