Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Former Customs Officer Daya Shanker Passes Away
An Indian Revenue Service Officer of the 1978 batch, Daya Shankar, who took on the gold smugglers in the late 1980s died in Australia following a prolonged
illness on Sunday.
His contemporaries described him as talented, irreverent and eccentric. He was known for his crackdown on the thriving gold smuggling networks in Daman, Goa
and Mumbai. A story that did the rounds then was that when he was on duty, smugglers got themselves off loaded and airlines used to reschedule some
flights to go empty. In 1988, don Dawood Ibrahim said in a magazine interview that he wanted to work under Daya Shankar, if provided another chance to lead a
In 1992, he stood by his colleague, Coasta Fernandes, during a CBI probe accusing him of killing then Goa Chief Minister Churchill Alemao's brother Alvernaz. The CBI held Fernandes guilty, but Daya Shankar fought for him and the SC brought the persecution of Fernandes to an end. Fernandes won a presidential medal, an official said.
While posted in Bombay he had taken on the might of Dawood Ebrahim by raiding his strongholds, once while chasing Smugglers he had even entered Pakistani territorial water, where Pakistani Coast Guard had arrested him and India had to take help of International Agencies to seek his release.
Indian Govt. had sent him to Australia for Advanced training in Australia, after the completion of training he settled down in Australia.
Tax India Online post on Daya
A chilling SMS reached me yesterday morning, "Daya Shankar Sir has bid us farewell forever this morning at 0740 Australian time" Mr Daya Shankar needs no introduction and nobody thought the conclusion would come so soon. Born on 21.02.1952, he joined IRS in 1978. An exceptional Customs officer, who successfully tackled the terror of notorious smugglers who used to smuggle gold, silver and electronic goods alongthe Coast in dhows (small boats). It is rare to find an officer with such honesty and integrity who would put the country first and everything else behind. In those days, it is said that the duty chart of this officer used to be circulated among the smugglers so that they can avoid attempts to smuggle when this officer is on duty. In an interview to the Illustrated Weekly, Dawood Ibrahim reportedly expressed his wish to work with this legendary officer. Unfortunately for a man who handled the smugglers adeptly, and who could win the hearts of his enemies also, the Bureaucracy was very rude and his request for voluntary retirement in 2005 had to wait for nearly six years because the department had initiated disciplinary proceedings for unauthorised absence from the department! (when he went back to Australia to continue his Ph.D). Mr. Daya Shankar was teaching international business and business strategy at Deakin University, Australia. He expired on Sunday in Australia.
Was he happy leaving Customs and working as a professor? Not really.
In a mail to our Managing Editor Shailendra, in response to our Cob(Web) story on him Daya Shankar said, "I didn't want to leave the job. Apart from losing virtually every retirement benefits, I have a sense of loss of breaking rules ... We are talking about corruption in customs. You have to see corruption in academia. It was a wrong choice."
He is perhaps the only officer in the Department who had refused to accept the cash rewards given by the Department. And it is not as if he was rolling in money. A senior officer told me that long ago Daya came to his house and asked for a small loan for taking his child to the hospital. "How much", asked the senior officer. "Three", said Daya This other officer was also an honest one and he said, "I wouldn't have three thousand at home, but let me see …". Daya said, "not three thousands, but I need three hundreds!" And this when lakhs were languishing in his reward account and just a smile or a squint eye from him would have brought him Crores.
What can be avoided /whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
"Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.