He wears a different shade of khaki, literally and figuratively,” said a source who had followed Ahmed Javed’s work closely when he was joint commissioner (law and order) in Mumbai between 2002 and 2005. “He lives a very flamboyant life. He is as committed to his social dos as he is to the profession. He takes a token salary of Re 1 and donates the rest to the police fund,” the source said. As if on cue, another source said: “He likes to play billiards.”
Life came a full circle for Javed on Tuesday when he was appointed the commissioner of police. Around 19 months back, he lost out to Rakesh Maria when the latter was appointed the police chief. Days later, Javed Ahmed was given charge of Home Guards as a Director-General of Police. Today, the roles were reversed. Around 1 pm, Maria left office to take over as DG, Home Guards, and Ahmed made himself comfortable in the commissioner’s chair. So abrupt was the swap that even the ceremonial handing over of the baton was kept under wraps.
Born into a royal family, Ahmed may have led a privileged life – he graduated from Delhi’s prestigious St Stephen’s and joined the Indian Police Service in 1980 – but he’s no stranger to the rough and tumble of Mumbai’s crime fighting force. The city saw bomb blasts at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar during his tenure as additional CP (law and order). He also served the Delhi Police between 1983 and 1985, when the capital burned during the anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Javed is also considered to be close to the Maharashtra director-general of police Sanjeev Dayal who has a say in government postings.
On Day One of his tenure, Javed laid out the agenda for the Mumbai police: maintaining law and order, security for women and children and better delivery of service to the common man. He also ruffled a few feathers when he said that the Sheena Bora murder case will be handled in a more professional way. Rakesh Maria had been personally overseeing the investigation in the case till now.
In February 2012, when Javed was superseded by Maria, it was reported about how a dispirited Ahmed contemplated premature retirement. Holed up in his official apartment in Yashodhan building behind Mantralaya the entire day when news broke, Javed was deeply disappointed with the government’s decision to promote him to the director general’s rank, thus robbing him of a chance to head the Mumbai police.
Javed’s promotion had its origins in alleged politiking over the police commissioner’s post. Satyapal Singh was due for promotion in April 2013. Had Singh been promoted, Javed would have been the top choice to replace him. But when the files for promotions were sent to Home Minister R R Patil, he sat on them for months, allowing Satyapal to continue in the post. And when Patil cleared the promotions late in 2013, the CM’s office procrastinated endlessly. It was only when Satyapal applied for VRS that the government woke up and began the process of looking for a new CP. And found Rakesh Maria in February 2014.