A martyr’s death for Maharashtra ATS chief Karkare

November 27th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagpur, Nov 27 (IANS) As brave in death as in life. That was Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed while leading from the front in the battle against the terrorists that attacked India’s financial capital Mumbai, killing at least 101 people and injuring over 250 others.As terrorists Wednesday night targeted at least seven south Mumbai landmarks, including the Taj hotel, Oberoi-Trident hotel and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Karkare donned his helmet and bullet-proof jacket and set out to take them on.

The protection, however, proved inadequate and Karkare fell to terrorists’ bullets while trying to rescue people held hostage at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and ‘encounter’ specialist Vijay Salaskar were also killed along with Karkare.

The 58-year-old Karkare, a 1982 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was in the spotlight for leading investigation into the Sep 29 blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town. Ten people, including Sadhvi Pragnya Thakur and Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, were arrested as a result of the probe.

Karkare took over the ATS in January this year after a seven-year stint with India’s external intelligence agency Research Analysis Wing (RAW). Police sources said he had received a threatening phone call saying he would be killed in a couple of days.

Karkare, who has been credited with solving several blasts in the city, had also served as joint commissioner of police (administration) and once headed Mumbai’s Economic Offences Wing as deputy commissioner of police.

Born and brought up in Nagpur, Karkare graduated from the city’s Visveswaraiya Regional College of Engineering in 1975 and worked with a few private companies before his selection for the IPS.

He earned the reputation of a competent and upright officer during his stints in Thane, Nanded and Akola.

During his posting as superintendent of police in Vidarbha’s Chandrapur district, people saw a fascinating facet of Karkare’s personality - he created as many as 150 beautiful wood sculptures in the forested area.

Two of Karkare’s children live abroad - elder daughter Jui is married and settled in the US, while the younger Sayali is studying in London. His son Akash is based in Mumbai.

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