Satyapal Singh, a former Mumbai Police commissioner who quit the post to join politics, has now become a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. Singh, 61, wanted to become a scientist before he joined the IPS in 1980 and got Maharashtra cadre. The former top Mumbai cop now seems to have found his true calling as he had once said, his “inner voice” told him it was time to change his profession. He quit the job of a police officer, became an MP from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh and now as a Union minister aims to “work for the entire country with renewed energy.”
Singh was first posted as an assistant superintendent of police of Nasik. He then went on to become the superintendent of police of Buldhana. Before being appointed the Mumbai Police chief, Singh was Maharashtra’s additional director general of police. He had also served as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Mumbai.
Singh has been on deputation to the CBI and received a special service medal for extraordinary work in Naxalite areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He has received the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2004, the President’s Police Medal for meritorious service in 1996 and the DG’s Insignia in the same year.
According to PTI, he is credited with breaking the backbone of organised crime syndicates that terrorised Mumbai in the 1990s, including the Chhota Rajan, Chhota Shakeel and Arun Gawli gangs. When gangsters active in Mumbai and the mafia in the city went berserk with several high-profile killings in last 1990s, Singh had formed special police squads and cracked down on several underworld figures.
During his tenure, several encounter killings took place in Mumbai with specialists such as Daya Nayak, Pradeep Sharma and Vijay Salaskar given the licence to take on the underworld. During his stint, however, 25 August 2003 Mumbai bombings at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar took place.
As Police Commissioner of Nagpur, Singh had started an outreach programme called ‘Mission Mrityunjay’, an anti-terror initiative aimed to enlist college students in the fight against terrorism whereby students recommended by college authorities assisted the police in intelligence gathering and reported suspicious and anti-social activities on campus and in the city. Several similar programmes were launched in Pune as well as Mumbai during his tenure as the police head of respective cities.
PTI reports Singh had busted ‘matka’ gangs in as Nagpur police chief, unearthing a local politician’s links to the high-profile racket. During his tenure as Pune Police Commissioner, the city was witness to the 2010 Pune bombing which occurred at the German Bakery that killed 17 people and injured at least 60 more.
In June 2011, he was appointed chairman of a special in vestigation team constituted by the Gujarat High Court to probe Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. However, within weeks of the appointment, Singh was replaced after he requested the court to relieve him, citing differences of opinion between two other SIT members. On 23 August 2012, Singh was appointed as Police Commissioner of Mumbai after his predecessor Arup Patnaik faced flak and was eventually shunted out for his handling of
the Azad Maidan riots that occurred on August 11 in the city. Several policemen were injured in the riots.
On 31 January, 2014 Singh resigned and applied for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to contest Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket from Baghpat. He had then said, “My inner voice is telling me that it’s time to change profession. As a police officer, I have worked for the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra for many years, but now it’s time to work for the entire country with a renewed energy.”
Singh was born in Basauli village in Meerut district on November 29, 1955. He was pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dal supremo Ajit Singh from Baghpat, where he won with a thumping margin of 2,09,866 votes, defeating Samajwadi Party’s Ghulam Mohammed and pushing Ajit Singh to the third spot with only 1,99,516 votes.
In Parliament, Singh has raised farmers’ issues, advocating the need to involve the farming community actively in drafting of Union Budget. He has also raised the problems faced by sugarcane farmers in western UP, who are debt-ridden in the face of non repayment of their heightening dues by sugar mills. He has actively campaigned for Government regulation of sugar prices.
Singh is also known as a vocal proponent of holistic health, yoga and vegetarianism. He has a keen interest in vedic studies and regularly delivers lectures on spirituality, religious extremism and corruption. (With agency inputs)