Controversial Mumbai policeman Vasant Dhoble, who earned both bouquets and brickbats for his late-night crackdowns against errant nightclubs and pubs, was transferred from the Social Service Branch (SSB) to the Vakola division on Sunday.
Assistant commissioner of police Dhoble's transfer came after Satyapal Singh took over from former police commissioner Arup Patnaik and decided there would be no special squads like the ones created by Patnaik. Sources in city police also said the reason cited for the transfer was to fill up vacancies in view of the coming festive season. The post of ACP, Vakola, was lying vacant since August 31.
But Dhoble's transfer was expected for long, since he took on the high and the mighty under Patnaik's patronage. Patnaik, in fact, had brought Dhoble to the SSB in March 2011 for a specific task — streamlining nightlife in the city.Dhoble did this with a camera and a hockey stick — striking terror in the hearts of the joints that flouted the law with impunity, thanks to their connections and patronage.
But in the process, he got the nickname "Mumbai's party pooper".
His style of functioning — with alleged excesses during raids and harassment to innocent customers — invited controversies and criticism.
Anti-Dhoble jokes became a rage across social media, even though he received thanks from people who lived near nightclubs and pubs. Dhoble became a name for domestic and foreign media. When demand grew for action against him, Patnaik stood by Dhoble. Even state home minister RR Patil could do little.
But finally, the controversies grew to such an extent, that towards the end of Patnaik's tenure, the number of raids dropped and Dhoble had turned his attention to the problem of child labour.
"Mine is a transferrable job. Every assignment is important to me. Duty is duty after all," Dhoble said. Satyapal Singh refused to comment.