Newspaper delivery-boy to Mumbai 26/11 hero, IPS officer Sadanand V Date to helm elite NIA

Sadanand V Date. (IANS Photo)

Sadanand V Date. (IANS Photo)

Mumbai, March 27 (IANS): Sadanand V. Date, an IPS officer decorated with the President’s Medals and one of the heroes of the deadly 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes (2008), has been named as the new Director General of the much-feared National Investigation Agency (NIA), on Wednesday.

Presently, Date is the DG, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), and has previously served as DIG, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) besides other important policing positions at the state and Centre in the past 34 years.

Born in a humble family in Pune, Date, 58, had a life full of struggles, having lost his father when he was 15, and his mother worked as a cook to earn a living for the family.

The bright young Date, hungry for education, chipped in by working as a newspaper delivery boy from 1977 for nearly 10 years, to part-finance his studies in school and college.

Over the years, he completed his B. Comm and M.Comm., became a Cost Accountant (ICAI), and earned a PhD in Commerce from the Savitribai Phule Pune University, but was lured by public service so he also appeared for his UPSC exams, and cracked it to become an IPS officer in 1990.

During his tenure with the CBI, he was sent on a Humphrey Fellowship (2005-2006) to the University of Minnesota where he studied the scourge of ‘while-collar and organised crimes in the US’, plus the theoretical and practical aspects of dealing with it.

Armed with the expertise, on his return to India, he was made the Additional Commissioner of Police (Economic Offences Wing), then headed the elite Force One in Maharashtra, designed on the lines of the National Security Guards, was the first Commissioner of Police of the newly-created Mira Bhayander-Vasai Virar Commissionerate (MBVV).

During the dastardly terror strikes on Mumbai for 60 hours from the night of November 26-29, 2008, armed with the Mumbai Police’s weapons and jawans, Date literally chased the 10 Pakistan terrorists, particularly the trigger-happy duo -- Ajmal Kasab (nabbed alive) and his equally bloodthirsty associate Abu Ismail Khan -- near the Cama & Albless Hospital -- where more than 500 women, children, doctors and nurses trembled, waiting for help.

Date and his loyal band of Mumbai Police personnel courageously battled Kasab-Khan, lurking around hospital campus in the darkness, firing indiscriminately at the police, before they gave up and moved ahead to create mayhem at another location.

First, they hijacked a police jeep, then they abandoned it and overpowered a private car driver, sped off towards the Chowpatty Beach at the dead of the night, where after a gun-battle, Khan was killed while Kasab was nabbed alive and virtually unharmed.

In the shootout, which saved many lives of innocents at the hospital, Date and his men were also wounded, in fact, at one point he was even speculated to be dead in some sections of the media, but he not only survived, recovered fully and bounced back to his passion of policing.

Barely a month earlier on October 27, 2008, the plucky Date had shot dead a Bihari youth Rahul Raj -- who had come to kill Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray for his anti-north Indian stance.

Flaunting a country-made pistol, the youth hijacked a BEST double-decker bus with over a dozen passengers held as hostages, shot and injured the bus conductor and one passenger.

After giving chase to the BEST bus, Date and his team managed to shoot dead Raj in a fierce gun-battle and saved the lives of all the hostages on board.

Date was awarded the President’s Medal (2007) and the President’s Police Medal (2008) for his meritorious and gallantry services to the country.