New Delhi: Ashok Patnaik, a senior IPS officer, was on Wednesday appointed as the CEO of Natgrid, a robust intelligence gathering mechanism being set up to track terror suspects and incidents.
Patnaik, a 1983-batch Gujarat cadre officer, currently serving as additional director in the Intelligence Bureau, will be responsible for taking forward the government's efforts to set up the highly sophisticated security set up, official sources said.
Patnaik is the son-in-law of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
A 1983-batch IPS officer from Gujarat, Patnaik has been appointed as the new CEO of Natgrid till 31 December, 2018, the date of his retirement from the service, according to an official order issued on Wednesday. The post had been lying vacant since the contract of Raghu Raman, the first CEO of Natgrid, was not renewed by the NDA government. The post was under the additional charge of former Special Secretary Ashok Prasad till January this year.
With his appointment, Patnaik, who is number three in the Intelligence Bureau, is unlikely to be in the race for the post of IB Director in 2018.
Patnaik will be responsible for taking forward the government's efforts to set up the Natgrid, an organisation created after the 26 November, 2008 Mumbai attacks.
As per the Home Ministry proposal, the Natgrid, which is still in a nascent stage, in different phases, will connect data-providing organisations and users besides developing a legal structure through which information can be accessed by the law enforcement agencies.
In the first phase, 10 user agencies and 21 service providers will be connected, while in later phases around 950 additional organisations will be connected and another over 1,000 organisations in the subsequent years.
These data sources include records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and financial transactions and telecommunications. The agencies include the Intelligence Bureau, local police and revenue and customs departments. While the clearance for Rs 3,400 crore project from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) came in 2011, execution of the project slowed down after the exit of former home minister P Chidambaram in July 2012.
There are around 70 personnel, drawn from both the government and private sectors, in Natgrid.
The appointment in the post of CEO, which has been lying vacant for several months, came a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the working of the Natgrid.