New Delhi: The government on Wednesday appointed senior IPS officer Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar as 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 officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was appointed to the post nearly two months after the retirement of previous incumbent K. Durga Prasad on February 28.
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 as its chief for one year from March 1, 2016 to February 28, 2017.
Bhatnagar is currently serving as Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau - an ADG rank post which has temporarily been upgraded to a Special Director General rank. He has earlier served as Additional Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CISF).
Sources said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi selected Bhatnagar 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 be taking over from Krishna Chaudhary, who is set to retire in June this year.
Pachnanda is presently posted as Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), India's specialized force for responding to natural disasters.