Senior inspector Vyankat Patil picks up his pen this time, to share hilarious stories from the police station
Don’t take notes. Instead, listen.” It’s hard to ignore a command from a police officer, especially when you are at the police station. So, we rest our pen and let the recorder do its work. Turns out, it’s a good idea.
For one, Senior Inspector of Police Vyankat Patil talks faster than a wrist used to a cell phone can write, and, secondly, he knows how to weave a tale. “Once, when I was in Thane, a man came complaining that his wife was lost. He said the two were riding on his bike, but a while later, he realised that his wife was missing from behind him. He came to the police station to lodge a complaint,” says Patil. The 54-year-old police officer, in between sips of black tea at his ground-floor office at Ghatkopar Police Station, adds that the man insisted that the police find his wife.
“This was the era before mobiles, so after making calls to hospitals etc, we placed a call on the man’s residential number and a woman picked up the phone, identifying herself as his wife. When we told her about her husband’s complaint, she rushed to the police station. A fight ensued. We realised that the husband on the bike hadn’t waited long enough for her to get on, and rode off,” Patil laughs. Stories like these, he says, have made it to his soon-to-be-launched book, Ghar Haravlela Police.
Patil, who was investigating officer in the Crime Branch team that cracked the 2014 murder of Hyderabad techie Esther Anhuya, says, often, policemen find themselves working on assignments that don’t require their expertise. The compilation of 15 such incidents through a 35-year-long career, narrates incidents, some hilarious.
Yet, this isn’t the busy officer’s first book. Last November, he released a novel titled, Ghaat based on a murder investigation. “This incident occurred in the ’80s. A woman was reported missing by her husband. While investigating, we realised that she had been murdered by two neighbours. The book, however, is a fictional account and set in a village, he says, adding that the third edition of the book is ready. “In fact, we are planning an English translation soon.”
Patil was drawn to writing early. He’d pen short stories and poems as a child. He is a regular contributor to the police monthly, Dakshata, but took up writing seriously two years ago. And, if you thought being a cop interferes with the way he writes, he responds with a vehement no. “The story isn’t written from the perspective of a policeman. It’s written like any other crime fiction title.”
It’s a question that’s niggling away at us, so we ask. As a policeman writing about the police, does he have to get clearance from the department?
“I let my seniors know I am writing a book. If they ask to be shown a manuscript, I show them. However, there’s nothing in here that shows the force in a negative light.”
Even his 15-story compilation includes cases that were resolved. “No court cases have been mentioned. Or names taken. Even in a story that talks of how silly it is that cops have to provide VIP security, I haven’t taken names,” he adds, pointing to the fact that Himanshu Roy, the then Joint Commissioner of Police (ATS), and Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria were at the launch of Ghaat.
While Patil has another novel in mind — a social drama — he hasn’t found time to pick up the pen in the last few months. That the Thane resident’s day begins at 5.45 am doesn't help. The early hours are reserved for exercise, prayer and breakfast. He is at work between 9 am and 10.30 pm. “I am not complaining. I love my job,” he smiles.
He hopes his new book helps build a bridge between the police and the public. “People want to see cops on the road, but they don’t want to listen to them… Perhaps if people realise what the police goes through, they may have a little more empathy.”