Maharashtra’s former director general of police (DGP) and one of the finest officers from the Indian Police Services (IPS), Arvind S Inamdar passed away at a private hospital on Friday morning. Mr Inamdar belonged to the rare breed of honest policemen. He was both an officer and a gentleman.
His control over any department assigned to him was total. He never sucked up to politicians and refused to implement illegal orders. Little wonder they were afraid to even approach him for favours. Even when he occupied high level posts, he insisted on meeting ordinary citizens and giving them a patient hearing.
One of the first decisions he took after being appointed the DGP in Maharashtra, was to install a glass door to his cabin at the old Council Hall opposite Regal cinema, so that his staff and visitors could see what was happening inside.
He greeted everyone with a polite "Ram!! Ram!!" as they do in the villages even now.
As the officer in-charge of the Mumbai crime branch, he unearthed the conspiracy to assassinate Nusli Wadia, way back in the 1980s. The case hogged media headlines for several months those days and the case that was subsequently filed continues even today.
Despite tremendous pressure from the Centre, especially from RK Dhawan (personal secretary to former prime minister Indira Gandhi) not to proceed against anyone from the Ambani family, Mr Inamdar went ahead and arrested Kirti Ambani, a close relative of Dhibubhai, who was accused of providing funds to gangsters Arjun Babaria and Shanu Sequeira.
Mr Inamdar wanted to arrest Dhirubhai as well, but was not allowed to do so. At that time, Shanu gave me a detailed account of the conspiracy and wanted to turn approver. But no one was interested in listening to him. Even after so many years, the case is still dragging...a rather poor reflection on our politicians and the notoriously slow criminal justice system.
In an ironic turn of events, many years later a khabri (informant) tipped me off about a conspiracy to gun down Anil Ambani when he was jogging at Marine Drive. The dry run had been done and the shooter belonging to D Company was to arrive from Dubai. I put the khabri in touch with the then commissioner Anami Roy who handled the matter with great discretion and thwarted the assassination conspiracy.
Mr Inamdar will be remembered for a long time in police circles for his intense professionalism with a human touch.
Ram Ram, Mr Inamdar.
(S Balakrishnan is a former news editor of the Times of India and now practices criminal law in the Bombay High Court.)