Mumbai

An earthy goodbye to ‘Pandu hawaldar’

Police personel give a gun salute at the funeral of former DGP Arvind Inamdar on Friday.

Police personel give a gun salute at the funeral of former DGP Arvind Inamdar on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Scores of policemen say a final ‘Ram Ram’ to former DGP Arvind Inamdar

Former State director general of police (DGP) Arvind Inamdar, remembered for his no-nonsense approach to policing and his clean image, passed away in Mumbai early on Friday.

Inamdar, who would have turned 80 on November 11, was admitted to a private hospital for a long-standing illness of the intestine. Sources close to Inamdar said the ailment had intensified recently and he was unable to consume food, due to which his condition worsened. He breathed his last around 2.20 a.m. on Friday and was cremated at the Chandanwadi cremation ground in Marine Lines at 11 a.m.

Among the several policemen, both serving and retired, who attended his last rites were members of the 1983 batch of police sub-inspectors, most of whom are now retired from service after reaching assistant commissioner of police rank.

Arvind Inamdar

Arvind Inamdar   | Photo Credit: Mukesh Parpiani

The now-famous Class of ’83 produced the most number of ‘encounter specialists’: policemen such as Pradeep Sharma, Vijay Salaskar and Praful Bhosale who made a name for themselves killing members of the criminal underworld.

Inamdar was the head of the Maharashtra Police Academy in Nashik, where sub-inspectors are provided training for 11 months before being inducted into the force.

“Inamdar Sir shaped us not only as policemen, but also helped us develop our personalities. While we were studying under him, he brought in authors like G.D. Madgulkar and V.V. Shirwadkar, also known as Kusumagraj, to interact with us, besides experts from fields like forensics and law. He was a strict disciplinarian and had no tolerance for nonsense,” Mr. Sharma said.

The ‘strict disciplinarian’ quality is one that everyone who knew him seems to remember.

Mr. Bhosale, who last saw him at a get-together organised by the Class of ’83 in Pune four months ago, recalled how he was particular about every single thing, be it eating or drinking habits, holding cutlery or dressing.

“He set the bar very high and errors would be met with strict punishment. He failed 70 recruits from our batch and made them undergo further training for six months before approving their induction. Among those, five to 10 were rusticated because they did not meet his standards. Mediocrity was not something Inamdar Sir tolerated, either in himself or anyone else,” he said.

The same quality, perhaps, drove the 1964-batch Indian Police Service officer to put in his papers in 2000, when he was DGP Maharashtra, the highest post any officer can achieve in the State. He reportedly refused to bow down to political pressure from the ruling government, choosing to forego his tenure and benefits a year before his service ended.

In 2015, Inamdar set up the Arvind Inamdar Foundation, which conferred Jivan Gaurav Awards to recognise the good work put in by policemen. The foundation gives awards to three policemen every year.

“Doing something for others was always on top of his agenda. Even at our get-together, he was telling me how, now that I am retired, I should do something for the underprivileged,” Mr. Bhosale said.

Retired DGP Praveen Dixit, who worked under him in Solapur in 1979, recalled the annual meeting of DGPs held in 1998, when Inamdar was the State police chief. Inamdar had at the time strongly stressed the importance of effective measures to control communal conflict, and many of those were implemented.

Inamdar is also known for spearheading the probe into the Jalgaon sex scandal of 1994, in which hundreds of women were abducted and raped for months before the racket was busted. Former DGP, the late Deepak Jog, was the district Superintendent of Police of Jalgaon at the time.

“Inamdar Sir backed my father fully during the investigation and shielded him from political pressure. He was an extremely upright officer driven by a strong sense of justice. We shall miss him dearly. He was a strict, no-nonsense but endearing officer,” said Jog’s son Deepak.

Several others who knew him recalled his endearing quirks, like greeting everyone with “Ram Ram”, common in rural Maharashtra, and referring to himself as ‘Pandu hawaldar’, the generic term for policemen.

No wonder, then, scores of Pandu hawaldars turned up at Chandanwadi to bid a final “Ram Ram” to their beloved mentor.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 6:28:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/an-earthy-goodbye-to-pandu-hawaldar/article29926570.ece

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