HYDERABAD: From a maths topper in school and a bright graduate of medicine to an IPS officer, Akun Sabharwal, the DCP (central zone), Hyderabad, has had a hectic schedule throughout his life. Having scored the 33rd rank in the UPSC exam, he was selected for IPS when he was just 23.
Sabharwal’s entry into the civil services did not happen until he was in college but his schooling was as eventful as his current job. “Though I was born in Patiala, I studied in different Kendriya Vidyalaya schools in Bangalore, Pune, Delhi, Assam, Ooty and Chandigarh. My father was in the Air Force and we moved around a lot.”
Having topped mathematics in Classes 10 and 12, engineering would have been the usual choice for anyone, but Sabharwal did the unexpected. He wrote the AIMEs in 1995, got admitted into the Patiala Medical College and graduated in dentistry (2000). “My parents never forced me to study or tell me what to pursue. In fact, they hardly knew what my plans were or how I was studying,” he says.
“My favourite professor was Vinod Kapur, a surgeon who specialised in Zygomatic bone, maxella and lower orbit surgeries. He had selected me to train under him and so I joined him as an intern in my final year,” he recounts.
That was also the period (2000) when Sabharwal wrote the civil services. “I did not take any coaching. I was busy in the hospital in the morning and would study in the evening.” When the results came, Sabharwal was still pursuing his house surgeon and was surprised that he had cleared the exam with flying colours.
But his father wasn’t happy. “My father and Prof Kapur were apprehensive about the civil services. They wanted me to become a dentist as they felt I was doing well there,” he adds with a hearty laugh. “I met my professor recently and even now he wants me to return to medicine.”
This 34-year-old officer was chosen from Meghalaya/Assam cadre and even worked there for a brief period. But after his marriage to Smita, an IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, he joined the AP cadre in 2004. “AP was more challenging than I expected, as I had to serve in some of the most disturbed areas of the state,” he says.
Case in point was his first posting in Anantapur district as ASP in 2004. Anantapur falls under the Rayalseema region that is infamous for bloody faction feuds. “The initial six months were tough as I did not even know Telugu. The violence was also high those days,” he explains. He served as Officer on Special Duty in Warangal district, which is considered to have a significant Naxal influence.
Since April last year, as the DCP of the city, Sabharwal has been busy tackling urban problems through people-friendly police initiatives. “We’ve started Sannihitham , a police help centre where you can give complaints and obtain receipt,” says the officer who is also cracking down on those supplying hookah to minors. “We’ve raided and booked 35 centres that were providing hookah to minors. Those caught were sent for counselling along with their parents.”
He has also started an anti-ragging campaign called ragging ki band bajao . “We’ve held meetings with colleges, students and counsellors,” he adds. “We’ve deputed our men near bus stops, women’s colleges and other venues. Eve-teasers are apprehended and counselled along with their parents. If they repeat the offence, we take official action.” When not policing, his favourite hobby is horse riding.