“From one man of integrity to another whose professionalism cannot be questioned,” said a senior police officer when asked about Arup Patnaik taking over as the Mumbai police commissioner from Sanjeev Dayal. Patnaik brings with him an in-your-face attitude, and is someone who calls a spade a spade.
A 1979 batch officer, Patnaik had initially served as a probationary officer in the State Bank of India before he cleared his UPSC exam and took up the Indian Police Service (IPS). Patnaik does not just have many “firsts” to his credit but also several achievements that few can match. His banking background helped in his investigations into the securities scam in which Harshad Mehta was finally convicted. It was during this case that economic offences became criminal offences. Patnaik is a recipient of both the President’s police medal and the police medal. In a chat with HT, he speaks about his priorities:
Could you list your priorities as the police commissioner?
I have just taken over. In a couple of days I will be in a better position to answer this.
There have been several complaints about police apathy. Any comments?
Like everywhere else, there are good and bad people in police force. That does not mean the entire force is bad. We will ensure the poor and helpless are heard and their grievances taken care of.
The police force, lately, has had to face some embarrassment with its officers being named in rape, murder and narcotics cases. How do you intend to deal with it?
There is still a lot of hidden dirt and we need to set the house in order. In a month’s time, I may be better able to answer this question.
How much will your earlier stints in Mumbai help in your current position?
I was posted here in 1993 when the city saw communal riots and the serial bomb blasts. I was also here when the serial train bombings happened. My experience and the familiarity with the city, my officers, the people and the terrain will definitely be useful to me.
There have been upheavals in the underworld and the murder of gangster Bharat Nepali is a pointer to that. How do you plan to deal with the underworld?
We’ll handle underworld upheavals. If the police decide on doing something then it achieves its target come what may, and similarly it can also stop something from happening once it decides to.