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Cancer, frustration may have pushed Mumbai top-cop Himanshu Roy to commit suicide

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The 54-year-old IPS officer was battling cancer and it is suspected that he took the extreme step due to frustration.

Mumbai: Himanshu Roy, a senior Maharashtra IPS officer, shot himself with his personal revolver at his residence in Mumbai Friday afternoon.

Fifty-four-year-old Roy was suffering from bone marrow cancer for the past two years. According to the Mumbai Police, Roy left a hand-written note attributing his action to frustration because of his illness.

DCP Deepak Deoraj, Mumbai police spokesperson, said, “The Cuffe Parade police station has registered an accidental death report. The incident took place around 1 pm at the officer’s Nariman Point residence. He thrust a revolver into his jaw and killed himself. He was taken to Bombay Hospital where he was declared dead at 1.47 pm. Further investigation is underway.”

Known to be a tough cop, the muscular, big-built Roy had handled several high-profile cases, including the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. The officer from the 1988 batch was on medical leave since April 2016 and had five more years to go until retirement.

Roy, who grew up in Mumbai studying in the city’s Campion School and St. Xavier’s College, is survived by his wife Bhavna. The couple did not have any children.

Roy had cut contact with people, could have been depressed, colleagues say

Former Mumbai Police chief D Sivanandan who had worked with Roy since 1998-99 said, “He had everything in his career. Cancer is something unexpected and unfortunate. But his death is more shocking because his death was not from cancer but from a gunshot.” He added, over the past few months Roy had broken communication with everyone. He also went to the United States for some time for treatment.

“He was an excellent person, had a brilliant career graph, very easy to get along with, very soft-spoken, a family man. The only killer was cancer. People say he was depressed. That could be so. He was always in great health and fit, but this became a question of survival,” Sivanandan said. Roy, who was 12 years Sivanandan’s junior, often fondly mentioned the former city police chief in his conversations.

“He had been suffering from cancer for nearly two years and it seems he died due to the frustration,” former Mumbai Police commissioner M.N. Singh told ThePrint.“From what we have heard, he was not making much progress with the treatment,” Singh added.

From the IPL spot-fixing scandal to Kasab’s hanging – Roy handled some high-profile cases

Roy had a stellar career graph, having handled two of the most important police postings in Mumbai — joint commissioner of police (crime) and chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad.

Apart from the IPL case, he was at the helm of several high-profile investigations such as the 2013 murders of journalist J. Dey and law graduate Pallavi Purkayastha, an IAS officer’s daughter, and the firing on Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar’s driver Arif Bael, among others. He also had a major role to play in transporting Ajmal Kasab, the lone 26/11 gunman caught, to Pune’s Yerawada jail and executing his death sentence in absolute secrecy. Roy was one of the few chosen officers aware of the plan and in charge of executing it.

Roy also played a key role in setting up of Mumbai’s first cyber crime cell.

He was, however, sidestepped in the IPS reshuffle in 2015, with the BJP-led government taking him out of the ATS and posting him as additional director general (police housing).

At the time, it was widely speculated that the sidelining of Roy and a few other officers was largely due to letters they had written to the home department complaining of ill-treatment at the hands of their seniors and the alleged groupism in the IPS ranks. As a young officer too, Roy handled several significant posts, with his first posting being in Malegaon in 1991. He was the youngest SP of Nashik (rural) in 1995, DCP economic offences, DCP traffic, and commissioner of police for Nashik, among others.

The officer’s penchant for fitness

Roy, who was over six feet tall, always stood out as one of the fittest cops in the city with a strict diet and exercise regime. He enjoyed playing tennis, squash and maintained a high-protein and low-carb diet at all times.

He was a teetotaller, did not smoke. He would wake up at 5 am every day and hit the gym early, with Hindustani classical music plugged into his ears while he did his weight training and cardiovascular exercises. In one interview he had once described his morning exercise as “poetry in motion.” And most importantly, he said, he avoids negative thoughts as a person is a product of one’s thoughts.

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