Kumar quit IPS to work for corporates and ended up winning the parliamentary election as Jharkhand Vikas Party candidate from Jamshedpur where he was equally popular as top cop once. If Lande calls it quits for politics, he won't perhaps need the prop of a political party to emerge victor. The Yuvak Sangathan he founded in his home district Akola after joining the Indian Revenue Service in 2004, has a membership of 70,000-odd villagers devoted to the cause espoused by him.
Lande donates 60% to 70% of his pay to the Sangathan which organizes mass marriages of poor girls and runs coaching classes and a hostel for students in Akola to "aid them realize their dreams". The "worse-off among them with a spark" are adopted by the Sangathan which fully finances them till they land a job.
Few in Bihar know about the social activist that Lande is. This engineering grad who quit IRS to join IPS in 2006, is known more for his proactive policing. His crackdown on spurious drugs, cosmetics and edible items; his 24X7 availability on phone and promptness to rescue damsels in distress; his raids on shady cybercafes and his 'Dabangg'-like strictness in dealing with the high and mighty violating traffic rules saw him rise and shine in the eyes of not only the youngsters but also their guardians.
The cop in his thirties would not enumerate his feats. "People's faith in police increased and they knew police would act if they called me," is how Lande described his "only achievement". Ask the Maharashtrian the difference between policing in Bihar and Maharashtra, and pat came the reply: job satisfaction. "You know why? Political interference in Bihar is negligible."
Lande enjoys a clean image. Why then he didn't sign the Team Anna's I-won't-take-bribe declaration? "The oath that IPS officers take at National Police Academy-Hyderabad includes the pledge against graft. I didn't feel like giving an undertaking for the second time," he said and added he would willingly sign on the dotted line if such a declaration is prescribed by the All India Service Conduct Rules.
How true are reports that SMSes popping the question to Lande kept raining on his cellphones? The officer blushingly laughed off the question. Prodded further, he let this reporter access his inbox in which one of the SMSes, translated into English, read: "Sweetheart, the style of your functioning resembles the style of my thinking. Whenever you do a good job, I get congratulations. For, my friends know you are mine."
But marriage is nowhere on Lande's list of priorities. "My Sangathan members are like my family; I don't think I will get time off my official and social preoccupations to devote to marriage and children," he said. How so sad for the wannabe brides!