He successfully tracked down the people behind the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to a hideout in a remote village in Karnataka and then saw it all being re-enacted on the silver screen when a movie was made after his name.
Today, the daring cop, who also chased forest brigand Veerappan, is running up and down the portals of the court hoping that legal luminaries would be able to save his son-in-law Dineshkumar M N, one of the three arrested IPS officers in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter killing case in Gujarat.
The top policeman, known to all as IPS Kempaiah and who also finds a mention in Wikepedia -- the online encyclopedia -- is an Inspector General of Police posted in Bangalore.
He is now camping in Ahmedabad to oversee all legal formalities involved in Dinesh's case.
Dinesh, a 1995 batch IPS officer hailing from Bangalore but last posted as a Superintendent of Police in Rajasthan, has already hired a lawyer different from the one representing the other two arrested IPS officer D G Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandian.
Kempaiah was reluctant to speak on the subject - "I will not make any comments...thank you."
Dinesh's newly-appointed lawyer Arvind Pandya said he was handling the IPS officer's matter in the court from now on but he declined to elaborate on Kempaiah's role in helping out with the case.
Arvind Pandya, incidentally, represents the Gujarat government in the Nanavati-Shah Commission that is investigating the Godhra train carnage incident and subsequent communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.
If Kempaiah had chased Veerappan in the vast B R Hills in Karnataka, his 33-year-old son-in-law had cracked down on dacoits in the Chambal region around Sawai Madhopura in Rajasthan.
He was also awarded a pistol by the Rajasthan government on January 26, 2002.
Kempaiah's career faced a downslide when he was accused of corruption but was absolved of the charges recently.