Mumbai/ New Delhi: Himanshu Roy, former chief of Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, has committed suicide at his official residence in Mumbai, local police said Friday.

Roy, who was serving as the additional director general of police (establishment) in Maharashtra, shot himself with his service revolver, Mumbai police said. A profusely bleeding Roy was taken to the Bombay Hospital where he was declared dead. He is survived by his wife Bhavna, a former IAS officer.

Roy left a suicide note which says he was “taking this extreme step out of extreme depression due to an incurable cancer".

A 1988 batch IPS officer, Roy (55) was suffering from cancer of the bone marrow for the last two years, following which he suffered bouts of depression, Mumbai police officials said. He was on leave for more than a year and avoided public contact after his cancer recurred some four months back, a senior Mumbai police officer, who served as Roy’s colleague at the Maharashtra ATS told Mint.

A 1988 batch IPS officer, Roy was instrumental in the investigation into the 2013 IPL betting scandal, during the course of which he arrested Vindu Dara Singh.

Himanshu Roy also played a major role in spearheading and solving cases such as the firing on Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar’s driver Arif Bael, journalist J. Dey’s murder case and the Vijay Palande-Laila Khan double murder case.

“It is extremely tragic because he was a very bright person. No one knows the cause of death, but it was known that he was suffering from bouts of depression induced by his illness," said a senior central government official, who did not wish to be identified.

“He was a fitness freak and cancer had broken him down. He himself believed that he would fully recover and hit the gym again but his cancer recurred some four months back," the officer said requesting anonymity.

Before his current assignment, Roy headed the Maharashtra ATS and was associated with a number of high-profile cases including the murder of Mumbai crime journalist J. Dey and the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal. In 2015, Roy was abruptly removed from the post of Maharashtra ATS chief. He was among the 37 other senior IPS officers to have been reshuffled.

A body builder, regarded among his colleagues and the Maharashtra police cadres as the archetypal IPS officer who blended physical fitness with policing skills, Roy was uniquely famous as a handsome, smartly-dressed, and soft-speaking cop.

Special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam, who worked with Roy on several cases, said he was a unique mix of “physical fitness, feeling of camaraderie for his colleagues, and a rare personal commitment to take to logical end the cases he was assigned".

Nikam recalled that even though Roy was not part of the investigation into the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, he sat through the court proceedings out of his interest in the case.

The special public prosecutor also pointed out Roy’s exceptional leadership and policing skills when the 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab was moved in absolute secrecy from Mumbai to Pune’s Yerawada jail where he was hanged in 2012. “He was a gregarious, matey sort of officer who always had regard and respect for his colleagues and officers, a unique quality among IPS officers, and who always stressed the importance of physical fitness wherever he was," Nikam told Mint.

Roy, as joint commissioner of Mumbai police, was also instrumental in investigating the 2012 Meenakshi Thapa abduction and murder case. The case reached a logical conclusion a day before Roy committed suicide. On 10 May, a sessions court in Mumbai awarded life imprisonment to two junior artistes in the Meenakshi Thapa case based on the investigation carried out by the team led by Roy.

Roy, a Mumbai native, was an alumnus of Mumbai’s reputed St. Xavier’s College and a trained chartered accountant. He was the youngest superintendent of police in Nashik (rural) in 1995 and was also Nashik’s commissioner of police during 2004-2007 before he was moved to Mumbai. He was part of the police investigation team that probed the Khairlanji murders in 2006.

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