Bhubaneswar: With operational intelligence being his forte, top cop Soumendra Priyadrashi, known in police circles as a specialist in tactical operations, on Tuesday took over the baton of Police Commissioner of the twin city.
He is not a straight-faced cop. Priyadarshi's unassuming demeanour and amiable outlook belie his tough operational prowess. However, it is these two non-cop traits that come in handy in collecting operational inputs against criminal gangs or Red terror for the seasoned officer.
THE TACTICAL COP
Cut to the year 2005. As the SP in Cuttack, Priyadarshi had busted the D-company of Ollywood aka the Dawood Ibrahim (D-gang) in Bollywood. The people of Odisha then woke up to how a sharpshooter and dreaded criminal (Dipu) had a deeply entrenched grip over the Ollywood, especially the Album industry, in the State.
Moreover, during his tenure in Cuttack, Priyadarshi had also cracked the whip on the tender fixing industry. Significantly, the State government (BJD-BJP) had then made this tender fixing a poll issue.
It is this crackdown on the organised gangs that had caught the imagination of CM Naveen Patnaik then. And in the year 2013, Priyadarshi had been asked to head the anti-Naxal operations in the State.
"After taking charge in July 2013 as IG (Operations), Priyadarshi's anti-Naxal strategy helped in bringing a sharp drop in fatalities of security forces. Similarly, the killing of informers (say civilians) dropped from 31 in 2014 to a mere 6 in 2019," said a senior IPS officer who was Koraput SP during that period.
THE CHARIOTEER OF NAVEEN PATNAIK
When CM Naveen Patnaik appeared clueless on how to deal with the unruly servitors of Puri Shree Jagannath Temple, especially when every year the pahandi rituals during the annual Rath Yatras get delayed for long, he had chosen operational specialist Priyadarshi as the OSD (Officer on Special Duty) for the Nabakalebar Festival.
He had also been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring smooth conduction of 9-day Rath Yatra fest, and ensure no law and order problem from day 1 to 9, when stampedes, poor crowd management and often-violation of regulations by servitors had been hitting the headlines bringing more embarrassment to the State government.
Before being posted as the Twin City Police commissioner, he had been the ADG (Additional Director General Of Police) Crime.
When as ADG crime, his task was to deliberate with all the IG, DIGs and SPs at the district level to chalk out a crime control strategy, with suitable modifications done at the district level by SPs. As the new Police Commissioner, the challenge before him is to use his tactical intelligence to the hilt in controlling growing street crimes in the twin city, especially in Bhubaneswar.
BRIEF BIO OF PRIYADARSHI
- Started his career as ASP Puri.
- He was Additional SP of Puri when the 1999 super cyclone had hit Odisha. Played a key role in ensuring proper relief distribution.
- He had also been the SP of Ganjam, Cuttack and Keonjhar.
- Priyadarshi gained Naxal operation tidbits during his tenure as DIG (south-western range) at Koraput.
- Conferred with President Police medal for meritorious service in the year 2011. Also received the Governor's Medal in the year 2005.
- He was ADG (Law and Order) when Covid-19 hit the State badly.