In his 34-year long career, D. Sivanandhan had tackled two of the biggest threats Maharashtra faces — terrorism and Naxal violence.
As he took over as Director General of Police from A.N. Roy, on Monday, Sivanandhan said terrorism is the biggest challenge before the state police and saving the lives of civilians will be his priority.
“Several terror acts have been carried out in the state and we have to try and prevent any future attack,” Sivanandhan said. “And in case we are not able to prevent one, we should control the damage to civilians.”
An Indian Police Service officer from the 1976 batch, Sivanandhan said the police needed to control the growth of Naxalites in Maharashtra. Sivanandhan, who was commissioner of the State Intelligence Department before he took over as city police chief in June 2009, had mooted the idea of unified control to collect intelligence on Naxalites.
Sivanandhan is best remembered for his stint as the joint commissioner of police (crime) in 1998 when he broke the nexus between Bollywood and the underworld. He arrested film financier Bharat Shah under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Film producer, Nazim Rizvi —he produced Chori Chori Chupke Chupke — was also arrested while half a dozen actors and film personalities came under the police scanner.
The crime branch, under Sivanandhan, broke the backbone of the underworld.
More than 200 gangsters were gunned down by encounter specialists and more than 100 others booked under MCOCA. The crime branch in Mumbai arrested four key conspirators in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 at Kandahar during this time.
It was under Sivanandhan’s leadership that the Mumbai police arrested additional sessions judge J.W. Singh under MCOCA. The judge was later acquitted.
As the new DGP, Sivanandhan said Maharashtra police will study the best practices adopted by police in various states and try to implement them here. He said new equipment was being procured but training personnel to use these gadgets was equally important.
When journalists asked him about purchasing better quality bulletproof jackets, Sivanandhan said the outgoing DGP had formed a committee for it. “They [the committee members] have completed half the process. We will hasten it and procure them [the jackets],” he said.
He refused to comment on the arrest of Abdul Samad, named a suspect in the February 17 Pune blast. “I have just taken charge. I am in no position to talk about it now,” Sivanandhan said.