Sanjay Pandey: An officer known for his run-ins with establishment
Sanjay Pandey’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday was yet another ebb in the tumultuous career of the 60-year-old retired IPS officer who has been known for his frequent run-ins with the establishment.
Pandey is an IIT-Kanpur graduate who joined the police force in 1986. His tenure in Dharavi post-1992 riots as Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone VIII) won him admirers in civil society as also the wrath of the Shiv Sena which felt that he was not even-handed with both the communities. The next big case which some believe landed him in trouble was his investigation in the ‘Cobbler scam’ as the DCP (Economic Offences wing) in 1998. Pandey, who was investigating the case, was transferred to Jalna mid-stream. He later got Central deputation and was attached to the PM’s security unit.
He even resigned from the force in 2004 and joined the private sector, only to return in 2011. Having served in side postings ever since he re-joined the force after serving his resignation, the 1986-batch officer, who enjoys the reputation of being a “clean officer”, was relegated to side postings by the previous state governments. Many believed his record as a policeman who would not “listen” to the government of the day and go strictly by the book was what made previous governments wary of giving him an executive posting.
At one point, he was kept on ‘compulsory waiting’ for over three years after which he again approached the courts. He was given a posting after winning a reprieve.
From that end of the spectrum where he was in the no go zone for governments, Pandey’s fortunes changed with the formation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government. He was made the state’s acting DGP in April 2021 and later, in a rather unprecedented manner, the Mumbai Police Commissioner, was seen as having traversed to the other end of the spectrum where the Bombay High Court called him the “blue eyed boy” of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state when his continuation as the DGP was challenged in the Bombay High Court.
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Pandey’s stint as a DGP will be fondly remembered by the constabulary rank personnel across the state. When he served as Mumbai CP, he was termed as a citizen-friendly commissioner who, days after he was appointed, shared his mobile number with them. He would also respond to people on Twitter and Facebook and try to speak to them directly.
Pandey started Sunday streets where citizens reclaimed the streets every Sunday with recreational activities. He held meetings with builders and housing societies asking them to resolve pending issues.
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