IAS officer's novel mirrors a sordid real-life saga

A novel written by a serving IAS officer in Maharashtra has created a storm in police and bureaucratic circles with graphic accounts of sordid sexual encounters between some of the main characters and also because of a barely disguised resemblance to real-life events involving a controversial police officer in the state.

The Unkindest Cut by Sumit Mullick, an officer of the 1982 batch who is now chief protocol officer and principal secretary in the general administration department, was released last month.

The book describes itself as "a deeply disturbing and graphic account of a police officer who is hunted down for a crime that he did not think he was capable of. But his colleagues in uniform and a prejudiced society, relying on traditional stereotypes, thought he was. It is an alleged crime of gender and a gender war ensues, with every actor, semi-actor, self-professed stakeholder and vigilante joining battle".

The narrative revolves around an IAS officer posted as secretary to the governor, and a police officer, serving as aide-de-camp (ADC) to the governor, who is accused by his IAS wife of harassing her for dowry. A woman police officer investigating the allegations is gunning for the ADC who, however, gets sympathy from the governor's secretary.

The story matches that of 1999-batch IPS officer Deepak Pandey, who was suspended after his estranged wife Nidhi accused him, in April 2004, of beating her for dowry. Pandey was then ADC to Governor Mohammed Fazal, while Mullick, was secretary to the governor. Referring to the resemblance, he said, "As the book states in the beginning, the story is pure fiction. It is creative imagination." When asked if he had drawn from his experiences, Mullick replied, "Fiction is a sum total of your life experiences which is then created into something new, divorced from reality."

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