A beautiful memory : Change of Guard in Delhi Police

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Ved Marwah and Raja Vijay Karan , Former Police Commissioners of Delhi

Steady flowing tides of time remain unstoppable.Change of guard remaining an interminable reality for both mighty, meek, high or low.

Commissioner of Delhi Police Ved Marwah was to relinquish charge of office on April 15th 1988, after completion of a highly successful tenure as Police Chief of Delhi. During April 1985, he took over command of a highly demoralized and traumatized Delhi Police, after a disastrous failure of leadership during unprecedented tumultuous riots of November, 1984.

IPS Ved Marwah  was not only a hard taskmaster but also believed in the inspirational motivation of an elite police force.Commissioner of Police  designate Raja Vijay Karan, another equally competent officer known for his appreciative leadership qualities, had been specially selected to replace him.

CP Ved Marwah summoned me to his office on Wednesday, 13th of April, disclosing that I had been selected for chaperoning new Commissioner, from his apartment at Khel Gaon marg. He personally briefed me regarding details of procedural sequence to be followed, specially about his sophisticated sensibilities.Since I was to wear a ceremonial uniform, there was an argument between us regarding donning of an inconvenient sword, which was finally settled for sporting a revolver.

On Friday, 15th of April I reached residence of Raja Vijay Karan at 11.00 AM, forty five minutes prior to his departure for Police Head Quarters.On my first interaction found him to be quite affable, cordial, soft spoken, yet a worldly experienced gentleman.He offered me cold drink/tea and cookies, simultaneously we discussed about organizational setup of Delhi Police in general and prevailing crime situation in particular.

Around 1145 hrs, we left residence, with glimmering paraphernalia of a VIP ceremonial motorcade.Motor cycle outriders in their colorful dress, with pilot and escort vehicles.On the way at every crossing, intersection, traffic light point, the specially briefed policemen were present presenting of a superb display of their well rehearsed traffic drill.The movement of cavalcade being continuously relayed on wireless network.
Just covering a little distance from his house, still traversing on Khel Gaon Marg, highly enthusiastic Raja Vijay Karan was profusely sweating. He asked me if I could arrange for a hankerchief, since he had forgotten it while leaving in a hurry. I informed him that it may not be possible at that stage. Alternatively on offering him my new handkerchief, he readily accepted.

While the smooth ceremonial ride was nearing PHQ, new Commissioner thanked me, also promising to keep in touch even after assuming highest office at Delhi Police HQ.s.The promise which he not only honoured as Commissioner of Police  but lasting much beyond that stipulated period.Smartly saluting him, I left him among intensely expectant horde of police officers eagerly awaiting his arrival outside the main entrance to PHQ.
A few days later an envelope arrived COP office.In the first instance I was taken aback, thinking some faux pas had occured during my escort duty on Friday the 15th of April.On opening it to my utter surprise, discovered my neatly folded checked handkerchief, along with a letter of thanks from Raja Vijay Karan.
Both these items till date are in my possession.

His tenure as Commissioner of Police  proved most successful, although he lacked extensive policing field experience. Many grassroots field officers of Delhi Police were apprehensive, expressing skeptical thoughts about his performance at time of assuming high responsible office.

Raja Vijay Karan was a cop with a vision.A contrast to no nonsense strict disciplinarian bearing of CP Ved Marwah, new Commissioner being highly accommodative and extremely soft spoken plus friendly with all personnel.Just imagine even stalwarts like Dr. KK Paul could not easily withstand whirlwind blast of rhetorical tirade of Commissioner of Police, Ved Marwah.

Raja Vijay Karan, successfully sought holistic cooperation of all ranks of Delhi police during introduction of his innovative people friendly schemes. In a real sense he was the officer who introduced the ‘glasnost’ policy. Popular schemes like neighbourhood watch scheme, plus humanitarian caring for senior citizens, found a highly favourable response from a majority of Delhi residents.

Reorientation and sensitization of Delhi police was carried out at a war footing.Raja Vijay Karan will certainly remain as one of the most successful Police Chief’s of Delhi Metropolitan Police.

Note : IPS officer Raja Vijay Karan retired as Director of Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI) and started a company Knight Watch Security Ltd. Ved Marmah served the country , even post retirement , in various capacities including Governorship of few States. He passed away on June 5, 2020 in Asilo Hospital at Mapusa in North Goa.

(Author of the article is former Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police )