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26/11 hero Sadanand Vasant Date, who fought Kasab, is new NIA chief

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
March 27, 2024 22:48 IST
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He fought Ajmal Kasab and his LeT colleague Abu Ismail, received splinter injuries and held them off till he fell unconscious.

Image used only for representation. Photograph: ANI Photo

On Wednesday, 16 years later, Sadanand Vasant Date was appointed head of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the specialised agency that came up in the aftermath of the three-day terror siege of Mumbai.

Date, a 1990 Indian Police Service officer of the Maharashtra cadre who once sold newspapers in Pune to financially support his family, was honoured with the President's Police medal for gallantry for his role in what has come to be known as the 26/11 attack.


Only fitting perhaps that the brave and decorated officer takes over as director general of the agency specifically tasked with probing terror cases.

On that fateful night of November 26, 2008, Date, who was then additional commissioner of police, central region, received a call about terrorists firing indiscriminately near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

A short while earlier, 10 terrorists had sneaked in in a boat and fanned out across Mumbai.

By the time, Date and his team reached CST, Kasab and Ismail, both members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had left and occupied the roof of the Cama hospital nearby. The team followed them there.

The police team was operating blind. They knew that two people were up there but did not have any information about the arms and ammunition in the possession of the terrorists. Nonetheless, the Date-led team decided to take on the two.

In retaliation to the gunshots, the terrorists lobbed hand grenades at the approaching police team and Date was hit by splinters in his hands and legs.

Undeterred by the injury, Date continued to fire at the two terrorists besides informing other senior officers about their location.

After holding them for an hour, Date fell unconscious after losing a lot of blood.

The team's swift response and decisive actions were instrumental in managing the crisis at the hospital for the patients, including scores of women and children.

The night saw 18 Mumbai Police personnel laying down their lives.

Among those killed were senior IPS officers Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte besides encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and assistant sub-inspector Tuka Ram Omble, who was instrumental in arresting Kasab, the Pakistani LeT operative caught alive and hanged in November 2012.

Ismail was killed by Omble.

Date, 57, who was Maharashtra ATS chief till Wednesday, also served as Deputy Inspector General in the Central Bureau of Investigation, Inspector General (Ops) in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and Commissioner of Police for Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar city (MBVV) near Mumbai.

He has an MCom as well as a doctorate in economic offences from Pune university.

Date will take over the reins of the central counter-terrorism agency after the superannuation of current director general Dinkar Gupta on March 31 and serve in the post till retirement on December 31, 2026.

It was his initiative to set up an Anti-Terrorism Cell (ATC) at every police station in Mumbai.

This model was later adopted at all police stations in the state.

The IPS officer also played a key role in the formation of the Force One, the specialised commando unit of the Maharashtra police formed in 2010 on the lines of the elite National Security Guard (NSG).

During his tenure as Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) in Mumbai, Date had started a lab to monitor content of social media platforms.

He also set up a centre to train officers posted in the Special Branch of the Mumbai Police.

After serving in various capacities in his home state Maharashtra, Date went on central deputation where he served in the CRPF and was also posted in the Naxal-affected Chhattisgarh.

He also worked in the Union Law Ministry.

After returning to his parent cadre, Date was appointed the first head of the MBVV police commissionerate, which covers parts of Mumbai's adjoining Thane and Palghar districts.

After joining the Indian Police Service (IPS), he was posted as a probationary officer in coastal

Ratnagiri district, where he built reputation of an upright cop by cracking down on criminals and illegal activities under his jurisdiction.

Date, who grew up in Pune, came from a humble ground. He was academically bright and went on to crack the tough UPSC examination for entry into civil services.

He received the Humphrey Fellowship and studied topics such as 'Economic Crime and Organised Crime and its Nature'.

Besides handling sophisticated firearms with ease, Date is also adept at wielding the pen.

The senior IPS officer has authored a Marathi book titled 'Varditlya Mansachya Nondi'.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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