I joined service on 20th May 1981 , as Preventive Officer– Grade I, against Sports quota as an Hockey player, having represented ALL INDIA COMBINED UNIVERSITIES in Nationals, MAHARASHTRA STATE (JUNIOR & SENIOR) in Nationals. Immediately after joining Preventive Service and after initial training of one month and six days I was given the regular uniform postings in Baggage Section, Bonded Warehouses and Floating Duties. In-spite of the rigours of uniform duties, I continued to represent the Customs Hockey Team very actively and represented Bombay Hockey Team in the Senior Nationals held at Cuttack, bearing in mind the responsibility of the reason of my recruitment as a sportsman. I was known in whole of Bombay (Mumbai) Hockey group as the rough & tuff player who with his Technique could execute his roughness very effortlessly thus putting the match officiating referees into real testing times. During Hockey season when I played for the Customs Team, the team had won CIVIL SERVICES TOURNAMENT, ALL INDIA REVENUE CHAMPIONSHIP and the Local open tournament and the Customs team was promoted to “SUPER LEAGUE DIVISION” comprising of Mumbai’s top eight teams. Finally, I had to discontinue playing hockey as unfortunately got injured during a match session and had to undergo knee surgery. All along the time I played hockey for Customs and ensured that my participation in sports activities did not come in the way of performance of my official duties.
I was always learning and digesting the intricacies of the Preventive work and thus became an effective Preventive/Intelligence officer. I started taking keen interest in the Preventive work and became responsible for some of the most daring huge hauls of contraband like Gold, Diamond, Narcotics Drugs, Foreign Currencies, etc to the tune of nearly Rs.300 Crore’s and also have arrested smugglers and other Revenue defaulters. I humbly but proudly can say that I have dedicated the prime period of my life(youth) in bringing laurels and fame to the department through my active performance in sports and major part in Customs Intelligence work.
In the year 1993, when I was posted as Intelligence Officer, on an information received and briefed by Shri L.D. Arora, Addl Comm of Preventive Commissionerate. I was leading a search party in a notorious area i.e. Shuklajee Street. A gang of 30 to 40 led by Tiger Memon alias Mushtaq Memon attacked and very badly assaulted me when they, 4 of Mustaq Memon @Tiger Memon’s men. I was to be hospitalized, and after 10 days I was back on duty. But, I responded to every challenge, threat that came in my way, by becoming more sure for not giving up into any coerssion or challenge while discharging my duty.
I remember, twice our speed boat had got stuck on Sea Rocks while chasing the smugglers boat – once along with I.O Narayan Singh off Karanjia (Info-400 VCR) and once along with other colleagues at high sea, off ARNALA (Info-400 Gold bars & Silver ingots). Both the occasion only the BOAT’s were seized since the contraband goods were dumped in the sea and the crew had escaped abandoning the boat.
Once while performing his duty in the Air Intelligence Unit at the Airport on observation happened to intercept a suspected Nigerian passenger 6.1 feet tall, massively build in the Transit Lounge who was reluctant to accompany me to AIU office. I was all alone at that time. I didn't any chance to call other officers to assist me. It was for sure that he was not in mood to co-operate. At this juncture, I used my presence of mind and immediately lighted a cigarette and started blowing the smoke towards the sensor of smoke detector which resulted in fire alarm. Within few minutes, 4 to 5 men of Airport Authority in uniform rushed to the spot and enquired. I introduced myself and informed them it was me and had done on purpose. The Nigerian passenger was escorted to AIU office with the help of AAI staff. Intense interrogation and on being informed that he’s already off loaded from flight and will be taken for scanning his body for concealment, he confessed of having concealed (swallowed) 1 kg of HEROIN enclosed in capsules.
In the major seizures effected by me of own Intelligence, Information, observation and in the active participation, in 1986 I was immediately included in the prime intelligence unit – i.e. Head Quarters Intelligence Unit. This was the period when Tiger Memon alias Ibrahim alias Mushtaq Memon and other notorious smugglers were very active in the Western Coast especially Mumbai coast. (18th September 1987. file No. S/14-1-64/87P-HQIU-(Seizure of Brown-sugar (Heroin) valued at Rs.2,88,83,200/- IMV).
Another experience worth sharing is a case is of daredevilry, instinct, keen sense of judgement and active. Shri L.D. Arora, Addl. Commr had received the information that two persons have reached Mumbai to receive narcotic drugs. They have checked in a hotel in Central Mumbai who were to receive a truck laden with a huge quantity of Narcotic Drug concealed in it. The informer did not have any idea about the location, any identity/registration number of the vehicle. But the source was reliable. He could further inform that said suspects, both, were to reach to the truck which would be parked somewhere outside the Mumbai Port area, in the evening. During that period hundered of trucks used to be parked outside port. The task would be not less than finding a needle in a haystake. I was one of the Officers chosen by Addl Commissioner to zero down the suspect, to follow them discreetly and nab them when they receive the impugned truck.
I immediately rushed to hotel, located in Mumbai Central area. I traced the hotel. we had their room numbers too. But, we had planned not to enter their room but to catch them red handed. To zero down the suspects was not difficult, for me since I have gained quite experience in intelligence. As guessed, both the suspects came out of hotel at around 4.30 pm. I along with another officer started to follow them. We had walk of around 40 minutes, from narrow yet crowdy lanes. One of the suspects got suspicious about being followed. It appeared that he spoke to another fellow. Both looked back as to find who is following them. They started looking backwards frequently, while walking. They stopped for a while and had a talk of few seconds. From their body language, I could guess that they got frightened and were planning to flee. I had no time to wait. Immediately, I changed my original plan which was limited only to follow them till they reach the impugned truck. I was getting sure that once they disappear from my sight, there was no chance to get them back. In the meantime, the suspects were already on the run and climbing the Carnac bridge leading to Dongri area. The Dongri area is notorious locality for illegal activities, including drug trafficking. I shouted “Bhag” to my colleague Shri Joshi and started chasing the suspect. I sprant up the Carnac bridge nearly 18 to 20 steps and could see them entering a Taxi. I realised that I got only few seconds to stop them. I banged before the taxi. Taxi got stopped abruptly. They sensed that they are being followed . They immediately got down the taxi. The suspect pushed me down and started running away. Other suspect tried to snatch the weapon. I being a strong sports person, full of my energy and vigour, foiled his attempt. I could grab the suspect by giving sudden jerk, hiss he could free himself. He again started to run away. After running few yards, he picked up a big stone lying on the road and turned towards me. The stone was too big to hold in one hand. He was desperately moving towards me, with the stone raised over his head with both hands. I had only 2-3 seconds in my hand to safeguard myself. I took out the revolver from the holster and fired two rounds in the air. I meant to warn him and also to bring him under control. My reaction was very spontaneous. ( in Hindi there is saying marta kya n karta). But, he was too furious to understand the warning. He continued to run over me. I rolled aside, from his way and fired at his leg. There was huge commotion in that crowdy locality, within few seconds. I regained my balance. I was now confident and I kept my revolver in hand. He was injured. The huge stone was fallen near his legs. He was bleeding and he was trying to press the injury due to pain and blood. I got control over the situation. I identified my self as Customs Officer. I waved my I’Card in air. Mob gathered there realised seriousness of firing. Then, confidently, I started to warn the mob to calm down and not to move towards them. In another few minutes, Supdt T. S. Jayram reached there from his surveillance point. He understood the situation, as the revolver was still in my hand. He asked me “abe kya kiya?”, I narrated the incident in short. Supdt Jayram then appealed the public to help them to take the suspect in the taxi but nobody dared to move. Probably, they could not understand what was going on there. I again warned the public, then when the officer addressed the crowd four person helped in putting the suspect in the taxi who was lying down injured.
I took him to nearby J.J. Hospital for medical treatment where I was joined by my Addl Commissioner Shri L. D. Arora and other staff. Immediately a complaint was also registered with the Jurisdictional police station. The second suspect was also apprehended and subsequently the charge of both the accused was handed over to the concerned jurisdictional police station since the contraband goods were not recovered. Due to extensive interrogation of the two suspects by these two-law enforcing agency ie.. the Customs and Police, the current location of the lorry was disclosed which had already moved out from Mumbai City. The lorry was located and brought back to Dongri Police Station and thoroughly examined, resulting in the seizure of 220.640 kg of Narcotic Drugs cleverly concealed on top of the driver cabin. The said huge Narcotics consignment which had come to Mumbai from Pakistan via Bhikhiwind, a town located along the INDIA-PAKISTAN border in Tarn Taran district of Punjab.