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A People’s Gentleman Police Officer: Kempaiah IPS

Click here to go to the main page of Star Of Mysore.
Click here to go to the main page of Sri. K.B.Ganapathy.

Please send your opinions, feedbacks, articles to shshenoy at

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

"There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed." — Albert Schweitzer, French Philosopher

In my experience as a journalist, I have made the discovery that there are two kinds of government officials (not employees) belonging to different services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS etc., in our independent welfare State. The first kind may be called the patriotic officer. The second one may be described as the government officer. The first kind is ready to be called as the servant of the people while the second kind takes pride in being called as the government servant. And herein lies the difference between the good and the bad government officers. A good government officer goes beyond the call of his official duty, whenever required, to help the people.

A bad government officer calls himself a strict officer and limits his work to the rule book. He is impervious to the needs of the people. However, he will go to any extent to help his immediate superiors in office: The Ministers, the Legislators and those who will help him climb in his career and in self - aggrandisement. He will practice sycophancy upwards and tyranny down wards. Such officers will work not for the people but for the individuals.

Just this month, the people of Karnataka lost a good officer of the kind I mentioned above in Mr. Kempaiah IPS, after an open altercation with his boss, the Director General and IGP Ajay Kumar Singh, and quit office under VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme).

At the time of his quitting the office, Kempaiah was the Addl. Director General and Inspector General of Police (Internal Security), a post for which he was worthy in all respects. Sadly, due to the highly politicised nature of the Police Department, as it is all over the country, Kempaiah was left with the Hobson's choice and he quit. He was a people's Police officer acknowledged as one of the most feared by the underworld dons and the criminals. But at the same time he was the most admired, high profile Police officer of the people of Karnataka. It was sad that he had to leave, rather unceremoniously, with the burden of two allegations — one of corruption and another of securing the job by submitting a false caste certificate.

The detractors of Kempaiah have said that he used VRS to escape the charges of corruption framed against him by the Lok Ayukta. The matter, however, is in the High Court where Kempaiah has secured a stay order to the enquiry.

As for the false caste certificate case against Kempaiah, an enquiry by the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement was completed and the report has been submitted to the government. And he has since been cleared of this charge, I learn.

Knowing our politicians and officials holding the reins of administration, it is not surprising that a good officer like Kempaiah has his detractors and tormentors. Hence, I will not be surprised if there are corrupt officials who are enquiring into his corruption case and officials who got into their position with false caste certificate enquiring into Kempaiah's false caste certificate case!

Be that as it may, I must confess that I am a great admirer of Kempaiah. He was an intelligent and competent Police officer with a human face in a country where criminals are thriving both among the upper class and the poor class of our society. Unfortunately, while a large number of upper class criminals go scot free, the poor class criminals are languishing in jails. In such a dismal situation, it is Police officers like Kempaiah who play a pivotal role in checking crime and bringing the criminals to justice.

His record of service was so eloquent and distinguished that he had inspired the production of a commercial film titled “Kempaiah IPS” which was a hit. Therefore, it was not surprising his name and fame as a top cop had preceded his arrival in Mysore as the seventh Police Commissioner of Mysore in the year 1996. By then, his headgear was full of feathers of achievements.

I had the opportunity of interacting with him on a few occasions, both while in uniform and in civil dress. I found him as a person of sharp mind, capable of quickly comprehending the issues; though spoke sparingly, always spoke to the point. It was for this reason; I was surprised to read that at the fateful meeting of Aug.13 to discuss internal security, Kempaiah was giving his report which Ajay Kumar Singh thought was too long for his patience and asked Kempaiah to cut-short.

Knowing Kempaiah to the extent I know personally and through newspapers, he wouldn't be the one to indulge in meandering reports, especially oral one, unless there was a strong reason behind it. However, a boss is a boss and Ajay Kumar Singh was the boss and naturally he had the last word. Thus the verbal altercation between the two culminated in Kempaiah's last hurrah to the Police department, which he had served with great distinction and honour. There was another equally distinguished IPS officer in H. T. Sangliana who retired gracefully and later became a BJP Lok Sabha member. Well, I will not be surprised if Kempaiah, who is generally believed as Siddharamaiah's blue - eyed boy, also becomes an MLA or MP in due course of time. After all, in political terms, he is still young.

In retrospect, Kempaiah's life seems to be a case of rags to riches. Or, shall we say, a case of the meek becoming the powerful? Not only he belonged to the backward community but also to an indigent family from Kanakapura Taluk in Bangalore district. Otherwise, why should he start his teenage life as a cleaner and supplier in small hotels of Bangalore?

According to reports, he passed his SSLC in First Class and studied in the evening college while working during the day for two years at the Indian Institute of Horticulture and for five years at the Bharat Earth Movers Limited. He did his MA and LLB during this period. Being a brilliant student it was not difficult for him to pass the IPS exam. In service he acquitted himself so creditably that it helped him to pick up his promotions routinely, despite allegations of corruption. No wonder his remarks in Kannada, not so genteel, against the officials who raided his house made headlines and led to loudest whispers!

A section of the press had reported that a day earlier to the 13th August incident, there was an unpleasant incident between the two and Ajay Kumar Singh, like a gentleman officer, telephoned Kempaiah and apologised saying, “Did I hurt you ? I am sorry”. Apparently Kempaiah was too conscious of his self - esteem that he was unable to forget or forgive what had happened. The rest is big news as we know.

Certainly for an officer of Kempaiah's distinction, that was not the way to go. He should have retired covering himself with glory and accolades.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

By K. B. Ganapathy
Courtesy: Star of Mysore

Click here to go to the main page of Star Of Mysore.
Click here to go to the main page of Sri. K.B.Ganapathy.

Please send your opinions, feedbacks, articles to shshenoy at


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