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‘He Always Came to Our Rescue’: A Scribe Remembers Himanshu Roy

Mumbai police lost one of their most remarkable officers, who was an inspiration for many.

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‘He Always Came to Our Rescue’: A Scribe Remembers Himanshu Roy
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It was one of those lazy days when I did not have any concrete story idea and as usual I was getting late for the afternoon edit meeting. It was around 1.15 when I got a call from a landline number which I recognised was one of the landline numbers from the Mumbai police comissionerate. As I attended the call, a constable from the Mumbai Crime branch spoke in Marathi informing me that Joint Commissioner Himanshu Roy wanted to speak to me.

Hearing this, the first question which crossed my mind was what did I do. Working as a crime reporter in Mumbai Mirror, I was known for doing many stories which did not go down well with many officers.

So my mind raced back in time, quickly revising my latest spate of stories that could have led to this call from the Commissioner himself.

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As the constable connected me to the top cop, a husky voice greeted me from the other end. “Hello Ms Sayed. How are you ? This is Himanshu Roy speaking,” said the officer in an extremely polite tone.

The rest of the words which came from him made my day and were no less than any medal.

I keep reading your stories and I wanted to say that you are doing a commendable job. You have ruined my press conferences quite number of times as your paper breaks the story even before we think of informing the media. Why don’t you drop in for a cup of tea in my office?
Himanshu Roy to Nazia Sayed

In Roy, One Saw a Thorough Gentleman

This was Himanshu Roy, the much talked about officer in the entire police force. A remarkable office and a through gentleman. I still remember my junior colleagues from other beats would request me to set up a meeting with this ‘hunk’ and just pose for a picture. He was no less than any celebrity.

Though I had never spoken to him before that particular phone call, from that day onwards a new friendship with the top cop took shape. Roy was different from other officers.

He liked the attention he got and the best part was that he knew it and played along very well.

As a crime reporter, every story needed a confirmation from the crime branch chief and Roy would always come to the rescue.
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I got the chance to cover crime branch and break many important stories like the Laila Khan murder case, IPL betting racket, J Dey murder case, Vijay Palande case and many more.

Working as a joint commissioner in crime branch was not easy for him but despite that he never lost his sense of humour.

More difficult task was when he took over as ATS chief.

Despite that he would pull out some light moments which would leave you in awe of that man.

On a rainy day when me and my colleagues were waiting for an order delivery from McDonald’s in Fort, I accidentally dialled the previous number, to his direct landline.

I had spoken to him five minutes back and the number was on my last dial. Not realising that it was Roy on the other side, I blasted out on the phone over the delay in delivery of our chicken burgers and cold drinks.

After hearing me out patiently he said, “Nazia, this is Himanshu Roy here and you never told me to send you any burgers.”

Embarrassed at the situation, I apologised and hung up immediately.  An hour later, a constable from the crime branch arrived at the Times of India reception with a box of chocolates and a note which read: ‘No burger but chocolates for you’. Thus, we developed a bond.

From IPL Scandal to the J Dey Murder, the Supercop Probed it All

Despite a successful run as the crime branch, ATS chief Roy had his share of controversies too. Be it the J Dey murder case or the terror cases, it was under him that the first case of Mumbai youths joining the dreaded terror organisation ISIS had surfaced. Four youth from Kalyan has gone to Syria to join the terror group. At that time the concern on his face was quite evident.

“This problem will increase in the future,” he said.

He was the source of many front page stories which made headlines the next day.
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His promotion to the ADG rank and posting to a side branch moved him away from the limelight.

The Fitness Freak Who Never Ditched the Gym

Suddenly the news of him suffering from cancer spread like wild fire. He went on a long leave then. Everyone knew that he was suffering from a serious ailment and the chances of him making a comeback were very bleak.

Despite that, he put up a brave front and told me that he will be back soon. Successive rounds of treatment soon began to take a toll on his health.

He used to go to a very famous gym in south Mumbai. He took pride in his built and personality. The once handsome man had started to shrink, and turned pale.

His trainers at the gym used to tell me the stories of his workout sessions then and his condition now. Roy never missed his workouts.

Even in his illness, he could be seen at the gym, though not regularly. We never met at the gym due to the mismatch in timings but I would ask after him daily.

Stories about him taking excessive steroids to maintain his built started doing the rounds, but they remained mere speculation.

In his last few months, he realised that he wouldn’t be coming back ever and decided to take VRS (voluntary retirement) but his friends and seniors persuaded him against it. It seemed the once strong headed top cop with a ‘never say die’ attitude had started to give up slowly.

However, he put up a brave front and told everyone that he would make a comeback shortly.

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A conversation with him just a few days back hinted at his pain and hopelessness. He said he was tired of the whole process now.

He was tired of getting injections and didn’t want to take it any more. He promised to meet next month. He had cut himself from the rest of the world. May be he did not want anyone to see him at his worst.

And on Friday morning he finally put an end to everything. Mumbai police has lost one of their most remarkable officers, an officer who was an inspiration for many.

Rest in peace sir. You surely shall be missed.

(Nazia Sayed is a freelance journalist, based in Mumbai. The views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for it.)

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Topics:  Mumbai Mirror   J Dey   Mumbai Crime 

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