The central government has appointed Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar as the new chief of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force). The move comes two days after the deadly Sukma attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh, which resulted in the death of 25 CRPF jawans. It may be recalled that CRPF was functioning without a chief for more than 2 months since the central government was finding it difficult to choose the right person for the post. Bhatnagar is an Indian Police Service officer of the 1983 batch and he belongs to the Uttar Pradesh cadre. Before being appointed chief of CRPF, he was serving as the Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau. During his administrative career, Bhatnagar has also served in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is tasked with protecting sensitive installations in the country.
After the Sukma attack, the center had come under strong criticism for keeping the key post vacant for so long. The former chief of CRPF K Durga Prasad had retired in February. Prasad has been credited with setting up the Greyhounds, a specialized anti-naxal unit in Andhra Pradesh. On the same lines, the government had created CRPF’s Cobra battalions to counter Maoists.