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Cabinet rejig: Ex-Mumbai top cop Satya Pal Singh’s journey from fighting crime to joining politics

Former Mumbai police commissioner Singh was sworn in as a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministerial team on Sunday.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 11:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Reshuffle of Modi cabinet,new Modi ministers,Satya Pal Singh
Satya Pal Singh is credited with taking on organised crime in Mumbai. (File photo)

Former Mumbai police commissioner and first-time MP Satya Pal Singh, who on Sunday took oath as a member of the union council of ministers, is credited with taking on organised crime in the country’s financial hub and is also known to shoot from the lip.

When Singh quit as top cop in February 2014, months ahead of the Lok Sabha election, he became the first Mumbai commissioner to resign the position. The Maharashtra cadre IPS officer still had a year to go but chose to try his luck in the political arena.

Within days of his resignation, which took everyone by surprise, Pal joined the BJP. He fought the Lok Sabha poll from his home state Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat constituency and made an impressive debut by defeating Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh.

The 61-year-old Singh is a postgraduate in chemistry but chose public administration for his doctorate. He also has an MBA.

He had an eventful stint in Mumbai. He was the joint commissioner of crime control between 2003 and June 2004 when a gang war broke out in Mumbai. Several gangsters were killed in encounters as city’s controversial “encounter specialists” got a free hand under Singh.

He courted controversy as well.

In June 2011, weeks after being picked to head a special investigation team constituted by the Gujarat high court to probe Isharat Jahan encounter case, Singh requested to be relieved from the responsibility, citing differences with team members.

Jahan was a Mumbai college girl who was gunned down in June, 2004 along with three others in Ahmedabad on suspicions of being Lashkar militants who allegedly were planning to kill then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, an encounter that haunts the BJP till date.

Singh found himself in the middle of a moral-policing row two years later. After the gang rape of a photojournalist at Mumbai’s Shakti Mills in August 2013, he had questioned the morals of the youngsters indulging in the public display of affection.

Last year, he again shot his mouth off when he said he was once the biggest “goonda” of Mumbai.

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 11:13 IST