In 1997, Amulya Patnaik was deputy commissioner of police of the south district when a dummy bomb was delivered in a parcel to a leading businessman’s home in Gulmohar Park. This sent police into a tizzy, and the then Police Commissioner Nikhil Kumar directed several teams to get to work. Wasting no time, Patnaik constituted a special team and, within 15 days, they cracked the case and arrested the accused from Uttar Pradesh.
On Monday, the Union Home Ministry announced the appointment of 57-year-old Patnaik, an IPS AGMUT-cadre officer of the 1985 batch, as Delhi Police Commissioner for the next three years. Patnaik, currently the Special CP (Administration and Vigilance), takes over from Alok Kumar Verma, who has been made the CBI Director.
Patnaik, a recipient of the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service as well as the Police Medal for Meritorious Service, will have among the longest tenures as police chief. Only Y S Dadwal had a longer tenure, which lasted 41 months.
Officers who have worked with Patnaik — who will be the 21st Delhi Police chief — told The Indian Express that he is a “soft-spoken and very calm” leader.
He has worked as DCP in three districts — central, east and south. “He doesn’t panic under pressure. His priority is crime detection, apart from maintaining law and order. He also lays special emphasis on cases related to women. As DCP in 1995, he had launched Pratidhi, a Delhi Police programme to extend counselling and other assistance to victims of traumatic crimes, which is still continuing,” a senior police officer said.
When Patnaik was joint commissioner of police of the southern range in 2011, he handled a clash between police personnel and locals in Jor Bagh, just outside the Karbala mosque.
“Patnaik is known for his adept investigation skills and has been involved in sensitive cases such as the kidnapping of a schoolboy by armed gangsters in Sarita Vihar, which was solved within 12 hours. Other cases he handled involve the dreaded Asghar gang of dacoits and the Bombay blast accused. He was at the forefront of the police action to quell riots during two public rallies, including the anti-Dunkel rally of 1994, during which he sustained serious injuries,” an officer said.
Patnaik is also known to pay special attention to policies concerning the police department. When he was Special CP of Administration, Patnaik was part of the team which implemented the recent large-scale promotions in the Delhi Police.
During his stint as IG of the SPG in 2003, he managed the security of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.