An Upright & Conscientious Officer is the New NIA Chief 

On Sunday, March 31st, Sadanand Vasant Date, renowned for his brave deeds during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, took charge as the Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), India’s principal counter-terrorism law enforcement agency. Sadanand assumed the role following Dinkar Gupta’s retirement on the same day.

Colleagues describe Sadanand, a 1990-batch Maharashtra cadre IPS officer, as an upright and conscientious leader who sets an example for others to follow. He is highly knowledgeable and possesses extensive field experience. He played a crucial role in responding to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, including confronting terrorists at Cama Hospital and rescuing individuals. Additionally, he has been instrumental in addressing various high-profile cases such as the Shakti Mills gangrape, the Telgi scam, and the 2007 Kingfisher ticketing scam during his tenure with the Maharashtra Police. Date was honored with the President’s Police Medal for gallantry for his actions during the 26/11 attacks.

As a former chief of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, Date, hailing from Pune, has overcome various challenges to attain his current position. Having lost his father at a young age, he worked diverse jobs, such as newspaper boy and receptionist at a nursing home, while managing multiple responsibilities. Despite these hurdles, he remained focused on his studies and eventually succeeded in cracking the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam.

With 34 years of service, Date has worked across pivotal departments, including the Crime Branch, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and now the NIA. He also was the first commissioner of the newly established Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate. As per a senior Mumbai Police official, Date is described as an “all-rounder.” 

A White-Collar and Organised Crime Expert 

During his tenure with the CBI, Date was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship in 2005-2006. He utilised this opportunity to study at the University of Minnesota, focusing on both the theoretical and practical aspects of combating white-collar and organised crime.

Furthermore, Date has obtained a doctorate degree, specialising in the comparative monitoring systems of investigation within various law enforcement agencies such as police stations, the Economic Offences Wing, the Anti-Corruption Branch, and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

His research aimed to understand the reasons behind the differing conviction rates among these agencies despite working on similar cases. For instance, he investigated why entities like the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, CBI, and anti-corruption bureau, with comparable resources, exhibit varying conviction rates. While one unit may achieve a 70 percent conviction rate, another might struggle to reach even 20 percent in similar circumstances. 

An Out-of-the-box Thinker 

Reflecting on Date’s involvement in the 2007 Kingfisher ticketing fraud case and the Telgi scam, a Mumbai Police officer mentioned his innovative approach to handling cases, which consistently yields success. In the Kingfisher Airlines case, a complaint was filed with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on December 21, 2007, regarding large-scale fraudulent online ticketing. The reported loss amounted to Rs 13.5 crore over 18 months, from June 2005 to November 2006.

The Telgi scam was a sophisticated counterfeit stamp paper operation spanning multiple Indian states, with an estimated value exceeding Rs 30,000 crore, masterminded by Abdul Karim Telgi.

Additionally, the officer recounted Date’s involvement in a 2012 case involving the rape of a Spanish visitor in Mumbai’s Bandra. Date and his team successfully traced the perpetrator using shoeprints. Despite challenges such as the survivor’s reluctance to testify in India, Date and his team collaborated with the family to record her statement through audio and video, leading to a conviction.

The officer emphasised Date’s illustrious career, marked by numerous high-profile cases, expressing confidence in his ability to excel in his new role. Date’s accessibility to his team, consistent encouragement, and lead-by-example approach were highlighted as qualities that make him an effective leader.

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