New Mumbai police chief D. Shivanandan vows to crush terror


Mumbai : Senior IPS official D. Shivanandan, who is known for his dare-devilry in handling crime and the underworld, Sunday took over as Mumbai’s new police commissioner and vowed to crush terrorism and boost the morale of the city’s police force.

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In a brief take-over ceremony marked by bonhomie and in the presence of top officers of the city police, Hasan Gafoor handed over charge to his successor at the Mumbai Police Headquarters, near Crawford Market in south Mumbai.

“Tackling terrorist activities will be my first priority. Help me in building a safe and secure city of Mumbai, security of the people will be my prime concern,” Shivanandan urged, shortly after taking over.

He said that while crime and organized crime were not new to the city police, terrorism posed a bigger challenge and “the entire police force is united in tackling it”.

Shivanandan, who hails from an intelligence background having been commissioner of the state intelligence department, worked with the CBI and has been joint police commissioner crime and has the reputation of being a tough taskmaster.

An IPS officer of the 1976 batch, Shivanandan knows not just the pulse of the Mumbai mafia but is also familiar with the crime scenario in the entire state, as well as the anti-Maoist operations, which could prove an asset in his new assignment.

Shivanandan managed to upstage A.V. Parasnis, another officer of the same batch but four months senior, in the race for Mumbai Police Commissioner.

Among the major cases investigated by Shivanandan include the attack on absconder mafia don Chhota Rajan Nikhalje in Bangkok, Thailand and the killing of music baron Gulshan Kumar in Mumbai, and unravelling the alleged nexus between the underworld and the entertainment industry.

Another major investigation handled and guided by him was the Mumbai link in the 1999 Kandahar Indian Airlines aircraft hijack incident and he also probed the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial bombings.

Shivanandan’s appointment comes in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which have claimed several officials, besides former home minister of India Shivraj Patil, former state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and former state deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, who held the home portfolio at that time.

The latest in the list was Gafoor, who was the police commissioner at the relevant time.

Shivanandan’s real life dare-devilry in handling crime and the underworld had inspired even Bollywood.

Impressed by him, director Ram Gopal Verma had made a movie “The Company”, with Malalayam superstar Mohanlal enacting the role of the tough cop.

Before the take over ceremony, Shivanandan visited the famed Siddhi Vinayak Temple in central Mumbai to pray.

The state government, in a surprise move, shuffled 17 top IPS officers around the state Saturday. Gafoor was promoted as Director-General of Police and posted as managing director of Maharashtra State Police Housing & Welfare Corporation.

The move came ahead of the tabling of the Ram D. Pradhan Committee report which inquired into the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

While the opposition parties have claimed that the report sought to give a clean a chit to the police, the Democratic Front government has denied the allegations.

The report is likely to be tabled in the Maharashtra Legislature next week along with the action taken report prepared by a two-member committee.