Hyderabad: From heading the investigation into the sensational Bilkis Bano case in Gujarat while working in the CBI to handling militancy in Jammu and Kashmir during his stint in the CRPF to fighting Naxalites down south in undivided Andhra Pradesh, retired IPS officer Vivek Dube has done it all.
As Special Police Observer, Mr Dube has his toughest assignment at hand - ensuring free and fair elections in the politically-charged West Bengal, whose Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is at 'war' with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government.
Asked if Ms Banerjee's administration was cooperating with him, the former IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre of the 1981 said, "nobody is trying to come in my way: as he goes about his job.
Besides West Bengal, the Election Commission has entrusted Mr Dube with the task of conducting free and fair elections in Jharkhand.
In a free-wheeling interview with Deccan Chronicle, Mr Dube said his aim was to ensure that the voters exercised their franchise without fear and pressure.
Excerpts from the interview:
As Special Police Observer, how has the going been so far in West Bengal?
I keep reviewing the situation with senior police officials and talk to different political parties. My objective is to ensure free and fair polls. If voters are able to cast their vote without fear and pressure, it will be a great success and all our efforts are in that direction.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is at loggerheads with the Centre. Is the WB administration cooperating with you?
There is full cooperation from everyone in the district administration. When-ever I am receiving complaints, the officials concerned are asked to inquire and submit a report. We do our job and nobody comes in our way. I have been having meetings with the district administration on a daily basis. It is entirely a smooth affair and there is complete cooperation. Ever-ybody is doing their duty.
As an IPS officer who has worked on many high-profile cases, is being the Special Police Observer during the election in a high-stakes state like West Bengal a more challenging job?
Well, I am doing exactly the same job I used to do as an IPS officer while in service. It is no different. The only aspect is that my job is very hectic and I keep moving from one place to another by a helicopter. Yesterday, I was in Murshidabad, today in Kolkata and tomorrow I will be leaving for Cooch Behar.
How are you going about your daily work of dealing with West Bengal and Jharkhand police officers?
I keep telling them that a policeman's job is to detect and prevent crime and maintain law and order. All of us are doing exactly that. There are 79 companies of central paramilitary forces who will be deployed in the first phase of the Lok Sabha on April 11 and they will assist the local administration in ensuring law and order. West Bengal votes in seven phases, Jharkhand in four.