A rare police officer who had a fan following
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For many police officials and contemporaries of Ashok Kamte, ACP (east region), the death of the upright officer is not just a personal loss, but a devastation to the Mumbai police force itself.
Kamte, who died fighting terrorists on Wednesday night near Cama Hospital, was one of those rare officials who even had a fan following. The AK (Ashok Kamte) Fan Club of Solapur has called a bandh to pay homage to their hero.
A third generation policeman — his great-grandfather was in the police force, his grandfather Ganpatrao Kamte was the first Indian to rise to the rank of the police chief (Inspector General in the Imperial Police of Bombay) and his father was a Colonel in the Army — Kamte was a man of several facets.
"He was not only an efficient and daredevil officer, but a gem of a person. Though he was senior to me, we shared a good rapport," said Prashant Burde, ACP (Crime), of the Thane city police who had earlier worked With Kamte in Kolhapur range. For his daredevilry, Kamte was even profiled by the Man's World magazine.
Batchmates also fondly remember him as a fitness freak. It is known that when he packed his belongings to take charge as the ACP (east region) in January 2008, his luggage included loads of gym equipment.
Kamte was a powerlifter and a body-builder. He had broken three national records in powerlifting and won half-a-dozen gold and silver medals. He had also won a bronze medal in the junior world powerlifting championship.
"He was an awe-inspiring person. We envied his penchant to remain fit at any cost. He always excelled in sports, especially in swimming," says ACP Vivek Phansalkar.
A 1989 batch IPS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, Kamte was first posted as additional superintendent of police (ASP) of the Bhandara district, a Naxal-prone area. He also served as superintendent at Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and as DCP in Mumbai. He was also the Deputy Inspector General of the state's ATS training school for a short period. He was part of the UN mission posted in Bosnia.