He has an MBA from Australia, an MA and PhD in Public Administration, and an M Phil in Chemistry. Mumbai’s new police commissioner Satyapal Singh has impeccable credentials. But, he also has another record that isn’t as conspicuous. Singh has a history of replacing controversial cops.
On Thursday, Singh took over from Arup Patnaik, who was transferred for his ‘mishandling’ of the August 11 riots in the city, initiated during a rally organised by city-based Raza Academy and other outfits to protest incidents of violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. Several policemen were injured in the melee at Azad Maidan.
In March 2003, Singh replaced Mumbai’s then joint commissioner of police (crime) Shridhar Vagal, who is at present serving as the special IGP of the state human rights commission. Vagal along with other IPS officers were arrested by a special investigation team (SIT) for their alleged role in the multi-crore Telgi scam.
“The morale of Mumbai police was dwindling as several IPS officers, including the then police commissioner Rakesh Sharma, were put behind bars. Singh was brought into the force to boost confidence,” said a Crime Branch officer, who has worked under Singh.
In July 2008, Singh replaced then Pune police commissioner Jayant Umranikar who was allegedly involved in corruption. Umranikar – now retired –, who took charge as Pune’s top cop in March 2007, was embroiled in a row over allegedly travelling to New Delhi on the expense of a fake visa scam suspect in 2006.
During his stint as Pune police commissioner, Singh faced the ire of NCP after he refused to release the passport of minister of state for home Ramesh Bagwe, who has had several criminal cases registered against him in the past.
Know the man
Singh was born in Basauli, Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. He did his M Sc in Chemistry from Meerut University. He then pursued his M Phil from Delhi University.
After training in Thane, Singh was made ASP, Nashik. That was his first posting. During his posting at Garchula, he had a first-hand experience of the Naxalite problem in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and did his PhD on the issue. He was also merited with a gold medal from Nagpur University.
Singh then went to Australia to pursue his MBA and eventually shifted to CBI where he was dealing with the import-export probes. While in service he has been awarded the President’s police medal in 2004, and DG’s insignia in 1996.