A leader and go-getter

In the hot seat: Parambir Singh addresses the media after taking charge on Saturday.

In the hot seat: Parambir Singh addresses the media after taking charge on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Parambir Singh, who took charge as Mumbai Police Commissioner on Saturday, is credited with playing a significant role in bringing the underworld’s activities under control at its peak in the late 1990s. Officers who have worked under him describe him as a thoroughly supportive officer who never fails to let them know that he trusts them.

Mr. Singh was a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai when gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, Rajendra Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan, and Arun Gawli were most active. Mr. Singh was DCP (Zone VI), and Chembur, which was Rajan’s home base, was in his jurisdiction. Rajan had already split with Dawood by then and both gangsters were at war, leading to as many as two murders in broad daylight in a single day. Mr. Singh formed a special squad of officers to tackle the growing menace and gave them full support in their work against the Rajan gang.

Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Praful Bhosale, who worked with Mr. Singh at the time, said, “It was only because of the way he led from the front that we were able to achieve significant control over the underworld. He believes in constantly motivating his subordinates and personally interacts with all of them irrespective of rank, unlike some officers who prefer to distance themselves from on-ground personnel. Besides, he shares complete information with his subordinates, instead of following the need-to-know model and nothing makes a policeman feel more trusted than this. He is also not someone who bows to pressure. ”

After being transferred as DCP Zone II, Mr. Singh formed a similar squad that included Mr. Bhosale and the late Vijay Salaskar, who was martyred during the 2008 terrorist attacks. This squad was tasked with focusing on Gawli’s activities. Salaskar instilled such fear in Gawli’s mind that he submitted an official letter seeking Salaskar’s transfer.

A similar squad was formed by former top cop and MP Satyapal Singh, who was also a DCP at the time, which included retired senior police inspector Pradeep Sharma and police inspector Daya Nayak, who is now with the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad. Between them, the two senior officers are credited with dealing a severe blow to the underworld’s activities through a spate of encounters and arrests.

Mr. Singh went on to serve in several other important postings after being promoted to Inspector General rank, including the ATS and as IG, Konkan Range, before being elevated to Additional Director General rank. He later took over as Commissioner of Police, Thane City, and during his tenure, the Thane police cracked some big cases. These included a massive telecalling racket where the accused were cheating citizens of the U.S. by posing as officers from the Internal Revenue Service, and a international drug smuggling racket involving actor Mamata Kulkarni and her husband Vicky Goswami. Several officers from the Thane police said they were initially doubtful about the cases given how massive their scope was, but it was Mr. Singh who motivated them to go ahead.

It was also during his tenure that Mr. Sharma, as the head of the Thane Anti Extortion Cell, arrested Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar in a string of extortion cases as well as infamous bookie Sonu Jalan.

“After my reinstatement, hardly anyone was willing to touch me and there were already smear campaigns against me. Singh sir trusted me and gave me a good posting. He is a very gutsy and supportive officer. If there is one person that I respect in the Maharashtra Police force today, it has to be him. Mumbai is in safe hands,” Mr. Sharma said.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 9:09:25 PM |

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