Thiruvananthapuram: Loknath Behera will be Kerala’s next director-general of police after present incumbent T P Senkumar retires on Friday, June 30.
The decision to appoint Behera was taken by the cabinet on Wednesday. His name was recommended by a panel led by chief secretary Nalini Netto on Tuesday.
Behera is presently the director-general of Vigilance. It will be his second stint at the top of the police force in Kerala. He was replaced by Senkumar on May 7 when the latter was reinstated by the Supreme Court following a nine-month legal battle with the state government.
The government has not named the successor to Behera in Vigilance. Sources in the government said the Vigilance appointment is likely to be decided upon in the next cabinet meeting; until then, Behera is likely to hold additional charge.
There have been reports that A Hemachandran, director-general of Fire and Rescue Services, would head Vigilance.
Behera thanked the government for appointing him as the police chief. "I'm glad the government has trust in me. Now my job will be timely completion of pending cases. I will give importance to investigation of cases. I'm least bothered about controversies," Behera said.
Behera will take charge on July 1. Though IMG director DGP Jacob Thomas is the senior-most police officer in Kerala, the selection panel did not recommend him. The next in line of seniority was DGP Arun Kumar Sinha, who is presently in a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) assignment in New York. However, Sinha was not interested in returning to Kerala.
A major reshuffle of the police brass is tipped to take place along with the Behera appointment.