Rowdies beware, the real ‘Singham’ is back!
The gunman at the district police headquarters in Thanjavur was in tears when the news of the transfer of the Superintendent of Police trickled in recently. “Few senior officers showered such respect and affection on me” was his emotional outburst. Facebook posts cropped up, bidding the officer farewell, with sad emoticons. At the same time, three hundred plus kilometres away in Chennai, big smileys with ‘Welcome Back, Singham’ were plastered across facebook walls. All this public adulation was well before the Kabali mania could kick in. And it’s not as if R.Sudhakar had spent years on end in his previous two postings. In barely a few months as the Superintendent of Police -Thanjavur and the Deputy Commissioner of Police – Ambattur, this 2003 batch IPS officer endeared himself to his subordinates and the public alike. And that has been pretty much the hallmark of his thirteen years in the Indian Police Service. But here’s the catch. He’s actually a tough cop, evident from the Election Commission’s decision to handpick him for sensitive posts just before the polls this year and a by-election in 2012. So what’s the secret balancing act? “I’m fair and approachable. Whatever success I have seen so far is because of my subordinates.”
A native of Kaniyakumari, this Railway employee’s son had his early education in Renigunta in Andhra Pradesh before moving to Chennai to study Engineering at Jerusalem College. A second crack at the Civil Services Examination with different optional subjects – Psychology and Geography, earned him his childhood fantasy. “I was always enamoured by government service, not just the IPS. I wasn’t sure if I was elligible for the khakhi uniform because of my height.” But when he was medically cleared to be a cop, it was a case of #Magizhchi!
Having served in seven districts across Tamil Nadu, Sudhakar has always valued “direct interaction with the common man.” In Theni, as the Superintendent of Police, this dare devil cop conducted two combing operations in the forest against Maoists. When he took over as the Superintendent of Police in Dharmapuri, the district was ravaged by hooch tragedies. “I was able to eradicate this completely, thanks to my subordinates who never let me down.” The SP also managed to bust an illegal arms racket and “seized 300 illegal weapons in a week.”
It has been a mix of district and city postings for Sudhakar. After a stint as the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) South, he went on to serve as DCP Adyar during which period five bank robbers were killed in an encounter that created a sensation in the State. Double digit murders in the gangster infested Pulianthope area were “brought down to single digits when I was the DCP there.” From a brief tenure as the SP of the delta district of Thanjavur, Sudhakar is back at the industrial belt of Ambattur as its DCP. “My focus is to prevent crime through proactive measures like community policing.”
Affable to the core, I first met Sudhakar at the Global Investors meet not too long ago. Although we had been in touch on the phone and through the social media, it didn’t feel like we were meeting for the first time. A picture with him and a few other officers and friends posted on facebook almost went viral, a sign of his growing popularity. Don’t let his college boyish looks trick you. A sharpshooter, Sudhakar won the Championship for his bull’s eye performance at the Rifle Shooting Competition for IPS officers at the Tamil Nadu Commando School a couple of years ago. Pictures of him trying his hand at sky diving, bungee jumping and white water rafting with his batchmate V.Balakrishnan, in New Zealand, after an in-service training programme in Australia, have collared hundreds of Likes on facebook.
Cutting his teeth in policing was made less stressful by his dentist wife Deepika who has taken a break from work to look after their two sons – six year old Shravan and 4 year old Harush, students of Sishya school. With a brother in business and another practising as a lawyer at the Madras High Court, Sudhakar is quite a family man. If his social media posts are any indication, he seldom passes up an invitation to sing along as birthday cakes are cut. Either at home or at police stations. Rowdies beware, the real ‘Singham’ is back!
(Sanjay Pinto is a Lawyer, Columnist, Political Commentator, Author, Mentor – Silver Tongue Academy Resource & Former Resident Editor – NDTV 24×7)