Mumbai's new Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh
has asked Vasant Dhoble, the city's controversial Assistant Police Commissioner, to report to the Crime Branch, and not to him directly. Mr Dhoble heads the Mumbai Police's Social Service department and reported directly to the previous police commissioner Arup Patnaik.
"Right now, I will not like to talk about Dhoble. But I would like to inform that all our officers and employees will work as per law," Mr Singh said, adding that Mr Dhoble's social service department will 'go to the Crime Branch.'
Last year, Mr Patnaik, who was transferred on Thursday reportedly due to his mishandling of the Azad Maidan riot on August 11, had taken away the Social Service department from the Crime Branch and had reportedly given Mr Dhoble a free hand to book pubs, bars and restaurants that were flouting any rules under the provision of the Bombay Prohibition Act or the Bombay Police Act.
"After there were series of complaints that the SS branch was being misused, Mr Patnaik took the branch under his control but he gave immense power to his blue eyed officer Mr Dhoble and stood by him even when the outrage surrounding him erupted," a senior IPS officer, on the condition of anonymity, told NDTV. "But now it looks like Mr Dhoble would be tamed," added the officer.
Mr Dhoble has been accused of implementing archaic laws. Armed often with a hockey stick, a camera, or both, he was found bursting into restaurants and bars and terrorising staff and patrons. (Read: Who is Vasant Dhoble?)
Mr Dhoble was taken to court by two women who he arrested for being prostitutes during one of his infamous raids. The women - sisters - say they were celebrating a birthday. Mr Dhoble had them arrested for a few hours. They sued him for a crore each. In June this year, the Bombay High Court, however, ruled that Mr Dhoble was just doing his job, and also dismissed a defamation case against him.
Mr Patnaik, who now has been promoted as the Managing Director of Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC), had defended Mr Dhoble, saying he was an officer of impeccable integrity. (Watch)