It was perhaps the highest point in his career. The official announcement that Yudhbir Singh Dadwal, ‘Tiger’ to colleagues, had been appointed as Delhi’s next police commissioner came on Wednesday afternoon. Officers gathered outside his fifth-floor room at the police headquarters. But Dadwal sat quietly, clearing files.
It did not surprise those who have known Dadwal for years. In police circles, he is known to be a quiet worker, a non-interfering senior and a no-nonsense cop who has steered unblemished out of many controversies. The latest one being his appointment to the top post which has upset Kiran Bedi, his closest competitor in the race. But like before, Dadwal has refused to get drawn into the slanging match.
Last year, when the Jessica Lall case was hitting headlines yet again, the fact that Dadwal was present at the party at Bina Ramani’s Tamarind Court where the model was shot dead, was brought up again. But Dadwal maintained a dignified silence. “He had left the party two hours before the crime. All enquires into this have given him a clean chit,” said a senior officer.
“During the short time he served under me, he tried to streamline armed police. He has been a good officer,” former police commissioner, Ajai Raj Sharma, recalls.
Born in a family of army officers, Dadwal, the youngest of three brothers, always had a fascination for the uniform. “I had appeared only in one exam and opted for Indian Police Service,” he says.
It has been Dadwal’s love for sports that led Delhi Police to raise its own cricket team. Constable Robin Singh even made it to the India Eleven. In 1994, Dadwal took to golf and till recently, he was a ‘nine handicap’. He has even rubbed shoulders with world champion Vijay Singh when he was in India.
It was when a young Dadwal became the additional DCP, New Delhi, he introduced beret in the force for the first time. Till then only peak caps were common. People still remember the time during the Asian Games, when Dadwal, in charge of the police arrangements, would patrol the area on a horse. It was under Dadwal that Chandigarh Police worked out the Beant Singh assassination case.
As special commissioner too, Dadwal has earned praise for doing away with the age-old ‘butt-salutes’ that had resulted in accidental firing and the system of rewarding money where officers generously distributed money among their favourites in the guise of good work.
As the ‘Tiger’ begins his new innings, Delhiites hope he will introduce the same zing and dynamism he did in various units he served in thirty-three years he’s been in the force.