Shock waves spread all over Mumbai after the tragic news of former Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Himanshu Roy’s suicide came to light on Friday afternoon. This senior 1988 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer, who was holding the post of Additional Director General of Police, was reportedly suffering from cancer for over two years and was on leave since April 2016 on medical grounds. As per reports from the local police station, he shot himself using his service revolver at his Malabar Hills residence around 1.40 pm. He was rushed to the Bombay Hospital but was later declared dead.
The former police commissioner of Mumbai Arup Patnaik offered his condolences over the death of ‘cool-headed brilliant officer’ Himanshu Roy. He shared that Roy had met him a few months back and informed that ‘he was in a lot of pain’.
A suicide note that was recovered from his residence says that ‘no one should be held responsible’ for Roy’s death. The note further discloses that he was taking his life because he was disgusted with cancer, which he had been battling for some time.
When AV tried to contact Additional Police Commissioner, South Region, Pravin Padwal, he expressed, “I would prefer not commenting on Roy’s suicide. It is known to all that he was not well.”
Renowned for his soft communication skills and expertise in handling important responsibilities, his sterling achievements include several high-profile cases. The officer, who is regarded by his colleagues as ‘committed, sharp and popular’, had seven years of service left.
IPS Association took to Twitter and expressed their grief saying, “In a big tragedy, we lost one of our very bright officers Sri Himanshu Roy, IPS of 1988 batch #Maharashtra, today. A fiercely brave officer, his loss is irreparable. Our condolences & prayers to friends & family.”
Roy, who was the joint commissioner of police (Crime) from 2012-2014, will always be remembered for his last major investigation in 2013 Indian Premier League betting scam in which he arrested Vindu Dara Singh for alleged links to bookies in this spot-fixing. He was also felicitated with the Newsmakers Achievers’ Award in 2012.
Minister of State for Home (Rural) Deepak Kesarkar said, “It was a sad incident for both the government and the police department. We don’t have more details right now but in his suicide note, he held nobody responsible for his death. He cracked many important cases in his tenure. He was a good police officer and it is a big loss for the state. We lost a good person too. He had done a remarkable job as the additional director general of police and the former ATS chief.”
The murder probe of Pallavi Purkayastha, Laila Khan and five of her relatives at the family’s Igatpuri house and journalist J Dey and the arrest of diesel don Mohammed Ali Shaikh are highlighted milestones of his career spanning over 15 years. At the time of Roy’s tenure as Mumbai crime branch chief, 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was sentenced to life. He was also responsible for firing at Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar’s driver Arif Bael in 2011. In the course of Roy’s term as Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad chief, he arrested software engineer Anees Ansari for allegedly planning to blow up the American School of Bombay at Bandra Kurla Complex. Proficient probing of sensitive cases like the post-Babri Masjid demolition riots and Khairlanji massacre are also in his kitty.
Psychiatrist Dr. Sonal Anand said that depression is a kind of mental illness and anybody can suffer from it anytime. She further added, “This extreme step by IPS Himanshu Roy might be driven by depression. There are many cancer patients who lose hope towards their lives as they get tired of tolerating much pain and that leads to their decision of taking such extreme step.”
Himanshu Roy was among the few police officers who were seen to be sidelined in 2015 after they wrote to the Maharashtra Home Department alleging poor treatment by seniors and favouritism in transfers. During the same time, he was removed as the chief of the ATS and was appointed as the Additional Director General in charge of police housing.
Besides his outstanding performances in high-profile criminal cases, Himanshu Roy is also the pioneer of ‘Mumbai’s first Cyber Crime Cell, devising effective anti-dacoity measures in rural Maharashtra and establishing a special cell to handle crimes related to women’.
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