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What is Satyapal’s credibility?

After his resignation from the Indian Police Service (IPS), there is gossip doing round that Satyapal Singh is joining politics. If he has decided to join politics and become Member of Parliament then this is a good decision according to me. Just relying on pension after retirement is not possible or we can say very hard to survive. Good financial decision by the person concerned, but what country gets in return is not known yet. Satyapal Singh has not given any applauding performance after joining services or at least after coming to Mumbai as a Police Commissioner. No doubt, he is very good writer and also authored couple of books in the recent past. Author of two books: one on confronting the Naxal menace, and the other a self-help book, Talash Insaan Ki (The Search for Man), that has sold over a lakh copies and has been translated into several languages. As a service man, his influence on state and department is just unnoticeable. Whichever party he joins but this man has no principles of his own. So, no one guess about him. Weighing all options and then move, is what the work of the opportunist is. And he may end up as an opportunist in politics.

Satyapal Singh is a Maharashtra cadre IPS officer of the 1980 batch. Born on November 29, 1955, in Basauli in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Singh had aimed to become a scientist before he joined the IPS. He is a post-graduate in chemistry and has also done his M Phil (Chemistry). He has secured an MBA from Australia and is also has an MA and PhD in Public Administration. Singh’s first posting was as an Assistant Superintendent of Police of Nashik. He then went on to become the Superintendent of Police of Buldhana. Prior to being appointed the Mumbai police chief, Singh was Maharashtra’s Additional Director General of Police. He has also served as the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Mumbai, Nagpur’s Police Commissioner, Special Inspector General of Police of the Konkan range. He has also been on deputation to the CBI and received a special service medal for extraordinary work in the Naxalite areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Satyapal received the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2004, the President’s Police Medal for meritorious service in 1996 and the DG’s Insignia in the same year. Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Dr. Satyapal Singh was the 37th police chief of the mega polis who took charge in August 2012, was one of the most competent law enforcers to take over the reins of the city police. In the late ’90s, when the mafia in Mumbai went berserk with several high profile killings, Dr Singh, who was then the additional commissioner of police, Mumbai North West region, formed special police squads to call the bluff of Chhota Shakeel, Arun Gawli and Chhota Rajan gangs. To this day, the notorious gangs have not recovered from that body blow.

Satyapal Singh’s stint as Pune police chief did run into rough weather at one point, but he persevered with his Mrityunjay Mission programme which he initiated in 2008. The Mrityunjay Mission roped in college students who were introduced to the basics of security, the dangers of terrorism and police patrolling. It was a huge success as Pune, an educational hub, gained a lot from this student-police interaction. But after German bakery blast, he was shunted out of Pune as the police commissioner. He was transferred from Pune. Then he claimed to send three letters to the owners and management of the German bakery (at Koregaon Park area in Pune) to apprise them about the possible terror threat in unclaimed packages, and suggesting other security measures. The bakery used to attract a lot of foreigners. But they did not show any signs of paying attention. Inspite of knowing the threat even Pune police didn’t take any action. Actually, on the day of the incident (February 13, 2010), the unclaimed bag was lying in that spot for 90 minutes. Even when a waiter informed the manager, no action was taken for 25 minutes, until it resulted in the blast. Satypal Singh was aware of the blast, he even intimated the owner but failed to provide police watch and security to the place. His prompt response could have prevented German bakery attack. Inspite of this, then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had defended the Pune police in Parliament. How one can blame the police when the owner was informed about the inputs and they had not increased the security of the place? Anyways, this argument leads to debate.

There were rumours that Satyapal’s appointment as Commissioner of Mumbai was graced by Congress senior politicians. Arup Patnaik was suddenly transferred and replaced by Dr. Singh. This sudden transfer has given birth to rift between both of them. There were sequences of pictures published in newspapers on how both of them did not see eye to eye during the whole takeover ceremony. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s rally claimed Patnaik’s job and he was a victim of a political conspiracy. Then Satyapal was political choice to this higher post. When Satyapal took over, Raj Thackeray immediately went and met him. There were rumours that Raj and Satyapal Singh has some hidden agenda as both follow staunch Hindutva principles. Satyapal was brought to Commissioner’s post during crises and he was due for promotion in six months. His tenure was too brief to bring about any positive change in the system. Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party supremo, Sharad Pawar was also instrumental in his appointment, as home department in Maharashtra is with NCP.

Meanwhile, Singh has always been in news for making controversial statements. His decision to keep hotels and bars open only till 1.30am on New Year’s Eve attracted lot of criticism and which was eventually turned down by Bombay High Court. He always maintained relations with media and promoted himself whenever possible. I wonder, a person who is not popular among masses, how will he attract voters? I don’t know why some political parties are showing interest in such a low profile police officer. After Kiran Bedi perhaps every IPS officer aiming to remain in lime light and politics is the only option one can opt for.

Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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