MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) got its second chief in the form of Shri Hemant Karkare in January 2008 who laid his life fighting for the country against terrorist in the ill-fated incident of 26th November 2008, where attackers targeted several crucial places in Mumbai.
But this wasn’t something new to him as barely eleven months after holding office of the ATS Chief, Malegaon was rocked with bomb blasts on 29th September, 2008, for the second time in just a couple of years.
With meticulous investigation, Shri Hemant Karkare unearthed huge leads and arrested the terrorist network which was behind this blast and several other blasts within just two months.
Frequency of bomb blasts in the country was high from 2003 to 2008 but with Karkare’s efforts, the terrorist activities got derailed and slowed down as their roots were exposed and police started chasing them. In spite of so much exposure and huge volumes of leads that could have rooted out terrorists, their mentors, masterminds and supporters were not taken seriously after him , it is alleged.
His family members, admirers and former colleagues also feel that the efforts of Karkare have been forgotten too soon. In case of Muslims in Malegaon, it was Ramzan 2008, when the bomb blasts occurred, but due to Karkare’s effort’s, faces of real terrorists was unearthed thus saving the lives of many Malegaon youths who were falsely detained and branded as terrorists.
He wore a helmet, talked on his cellphone and finally put on a bullet-proof jacket before he met his deathly fate in the country’s biggest Terror seize.
Hemant Karkare, the then ATS Chief of Maharashtra, who was probing the Malegaon blasts case, suffered three bullet injuries in his chest as he was leading the offensive against the terrorists at places where the ultras had holed out early on Thursday morning.
The last television visuals of the 54-year-old officer showed him in a light blue shirt and dark trousers surrounded by uniformed policemen armed with firearms and walkie-talkies. Karkare, who served the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Austria for seven years before his return to the country as the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Chief of Maharashtra in January 2008, was an IPS officer from the 1982 batch.
Having the credits of solving several bomb blast cases like in Panvel, Vashi and Thane & exposing and revealing the real faces of terrorism in the country after the Malegaon blasts on 29th September,2008, he was being considered as one of the brightest officers to have served the country.
He was known for his discipline and fair investigation. During the Malegaon investigation, Karkare had told his officers not to create false evidence, saying, “We should do our job and it is for the court to decide.”
It became obvious that there was a possible threat to the life of Hemant Karkare when the Pune ATS reportedly received phone calls from unknown callers who threatrened to blow up Karkare’s residence. In his last interview to a television channel on Wednesday, he referred to getting the custody of Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.