HIMANSHU ROY Dasondi, an IPS officer of the 1988 batch, was at the helm of several important cases when he was the joint commissioner of police (crime) in Mumbai. However, as much as he is remembered for his policing skills, many in the force remember him for his impressive personality.
Six-feet tall with the physique that bore testimony to hours spent in the gym, Roy’s walrus moustache and a baritone to match, had his colleagues and even those in the film industry sit up and seek fitness tips. For his subordinates, however, he was also a boss who placed his trust in them and gave them a ‘free hand’ that, many juniors believed, helped them do their job with increased vigour.
READ: Who was Himanshu Roy?
Born on June 23, 1963, Roy grew up in Colaba. His father was a well known doctor. Roy went to Campion School and later studied commerce at St Xavier’s College. After graduating in 1985, he went on become a chartered accountant (CA).
Roy was, however, interested in pursuing a career in civil services. He decided to take the civil services exam and was inducted as an IPS officer on August 21, 1989. One of his first postings was in Malegaon, where he was posted from 1991 to 1995. There, he handled the riots post Babri Masjid demolition. After a stint in Ahmednagar, Roy was posted in Mumbai in March 2001. For four years — from 2004 to 2008 — he was the commissioner of Nashik police, following which he returned to Mumbai.
Crime Branch officers to this day credit Roy for “trusting them and giving them a free hand”. A police inspector who had worked with Roy, said: “He did not believe in taking updates every week from officers like some others did. He told us that ‘I trust you’ and gave us a free hand. If things did not work out sometimes, he stood by us. The confidence that he would not put the blame on us if things went wrong ensured that we could work with a
“Some of the best police detections took place during his tenure. We all tried our best to deserve the trust he had in us,” the officer added. Another officer said, “Another good thing about him was that he did not hog the credit when a case was cracked. Some senior officers do not like it if the names of juniors appear prominently in the media. Roy saab would encourage us to showcase the good work done by us.” During Roy’s tenure as the joint commissioner of police (crime), a batch of officers started emulating his appearance. “We were all in awe of him. Hence, several of us started working out in the gym. Some even grew a moustache like him and wore tight fitting shirts,” said an officer.
Roy’s gym trainer Rahul Patil said, “Roy sir was like family to me. I am really saddened, as he was a very happy person. Being an IPS officer, he had a lot of knowledge about exercises, due to which, I learnt a lot from him.”
Roy was regular at South Mumbai gymnasiums and his wife, Bhawna, used to regularly accompany him.
After the relapse of his cancer, Roy continued to work out occasionally. An avid reader, P G Wodehouse was among his favourite authors. Former Mumbai Police commissioner Arup Patnaik, who had last month joined Biju Janata Dal, said that Roy, his junior, had approached him around three months ago and sought the number of a renowned Mumbai-based oncosurgeon. Patnaik, who runs Konark Cancer Foundation in Mumbai, was also in talks with Roy to make him the brand ambassador of his NGO’s cancer survivors’ campaign.
“After retirement, I started the NGO… I learnt through someone that Roy was a cancer survivor and approached him to discuss his battle and also, if he could be our brand ambassador. While he never reverted to the request, he had asked me to arrange an appointment with a renowned oncosurgeon, which I did. I later learnt that the doctor had said that his cancer had spread to his brain and advised him to undergo a surgery, which he wasn’t keen on,” Patnaik said.
— Amish Tripathi (@authoramish) May 12, 2018
“On a couple of occasions, he had told me that the illness was taking a toll on his health and at times, he wasn’t able to bear the pain… We have lost a stellar officer, who was cool headed and delivered come what may,” he added.
Roy is survived by his wife. A former IAS officer, Bhawna had joined the civil services with Roy but quit soon after. She went on to teach and work with NGOs. She is the sister of author Amish Tripathi.