NEW DELHI, Feb 28:
The country’s largest paramilitary force – CRPF – was today rendered without a regular chief after its Director General K Durga Prasad retired without a successor being named.
The Union Home Ministry issued an order appointing CRPF Additional DG Sudeep Lakhtakia in “additional charge of the post of DG, Central Reserve Police Force from tomorrow till the appointment and joining of regular successor.”
Prasad, a 1981-batch IPS officer of Telangana cadre, had taken over as chief of the nearly 3-lakh-strong force in February last year.
Officials said while the names of about three senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers had been shortlisted, no decision has been taken by the Home Ministry and the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) till now to appoint a new CRPF DG.
Prasad, on his last day in office, made it a point to visit the AIIMS Trauma Centre here and check on the health status of his injured Commanding Officer from Kashmir, Chetan Kumar Cheeta who was admitted to the premier facility on February 14.
Cheeta, CO of the 45th CRPF battalion, was flown in an air ambulance from Srinagar after he was injured in a militant encounter in North Kashmir’s Hajin.
The outgoing DG also met constable Vishvendra Singh who is recuperating in the Centre after he was injured in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Manipur early this year.
The CRPF is not only the lead anti-Naxal operations force of the country but is also heavily deployed for rendering regular law and order duties in various States in assistance to local police.
Acting DG Lakhtakia is a 1984-batch Telangana cadre IPS officer and is heading the central zone deployment of the paramilitary force.
He has earlier served in the Special Protection Group (SPG) that secures the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their families. (PTI)