Known as “App commissioner” in Delhi Police circles for the mobile applications he launched, B. S. Bassi’s tenure as police chief saw run-ins with the Aam Aadmi Party government and a raging controversy over his decisions concerning the JNU row.
Bassi, who will step down on Monday after about two-and-a-half year’s as Delhi police commissioner, has been defending the decision to slap a sedition case against Jawaharlal Nehru Union Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar over alleged anti-national slogans raised at an event held on the campus on February 9 to mark anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s execution.
Kanhaiya Kumar and a few journalists said they were assaulted at the Patiala House Courts complex on February 15 and 17 but Bassi had insisted that Kanhaiya Kumar was not attacked. A medical report revealed that the student leader had suffered multiple injuries.
“There are multiple abrasions on Kumar’s nose and thighs. There is a tenderness on the right toe,” said the report which had been released by Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, adding there were also several external injury marks.
Kanhaiya Kumar, who also recounted the attack in a video screened by TV news channels , said the mob that beat him at the Patiala House Court seemed to be highly politically motivated as they were well prepared for the attack.
Kanhaiya Kumar said that one of the attackers also entered the corridor of the court room where the hearing was scheduled to be held.
Both the Congress and the CPI-M, which have been most vocal in criticising the government over Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, had demanded the ouster of Bassi as the Delhi Police chief.
Delhi police also faced criticism over failing to prevent and stop violence at the Patiala House court.
An Indian Police Service officer of the 1977 batch, Bassi began his career as Assistant Superintendent of Police at Pondicherry.
He has also served in Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Goa. He was appointed Delhi Police Commissioner in August 2013 when the Congress-led UPA government was in power nationally.
Bassi, 59, who was seen as a contender for the post of information commissioner, was ignored for the post following objections from the Congress.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Bassi told the media when he was asked about reports that the government had axed his name from the list of candidates for the post.
Bassi also has been having regular run-ins with Delhi’s AAP government over law and order issues. Delhi Police does not report to the Delhi government but to the central home ministry.
AAP leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have often accused him of being an “agent” of the BJP-led central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bassi has denied the charge.
Bassi apparently had a good rapport with his colleagues and juniors in the police.
An inspector, who worked with special cell of Delhi Police, said Bassi is a cool-minded and determined police officer.
“I worked under his guidance when he was DCP northeast. He is very composed and is a good administrator,” the officer told IANS.
A special commissioner ranked officer, however, was cryptic in his comments.
“My style of work differs from him. I am a fast bowler and he bowls googlies,” the officer said.
Bassi is also seen to be articulate and media-friendly. He continued to speak to the media even as the role of Delhi Police in the JNU row came under intense scrutiny. He has been forthcoming with news bytes and information on controversies such as Delhi police entering Kerala House over alleged serving of beef and the various twits and turns in the Sunanda Pushkar death case.
Early in his tenure as police chief, Delhi police achieved a major success with arrest of Abdul Karim Tunda, one of India’s top 20 wanted terrorists, and mastermind of several bombings in the country, from Indo-Nepal border.
Bassi’s tenure saw Delhi Police entering the Limca Book of Records last year for solving the biggest cash heist case in the country involving Rs.22.50 crore.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also appreciated Delhi Police’s efforts under Bassi’s leadership in the recovery of Rs.22.49 crore which were stolen from a cash delivery van.
The police cracked the case in less than 10 hours by tracing the suspected driver.
Police officers said Bassi laid thrust on the use of technology to improve services and police’s connect with people and was often referred to as “App commissioner”
Apart from using technology to improve internal processes, Bassi launched mobile applications including “Himmat app” to improve safety of women.
Delhi Police developed an application “lost and found app” through which a citizen can lodge report for a lost article.
Other apps include “Traffic sentinel app” through which one can report traffic violations and “Delhi police one touch away app” which facilitates access to all services provided by Delhi police at one platform.