Paying rich tribute to daredevil custom officer Late Daya Shankar, A Chowk (T Junction) in Central Mumbai’s prominent area at Wadala area is named after him. The chowk was inaugurated by S Ramesh chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, on October 3rd, 2018. Now onward the chowk will be known as Daya Shankar Memorial Chowk, at Anik Wadala Road.
It maybe noted that first time in the history of Mumbai, a road is named after daredevil custom officer. Daya Shankar was known as a terror among smugglers along the coastline of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area, in the 1980s. Even an auditorium in New Custom House of Mumbai’s Bellard Estate is named after him.
Speaking at naming ceremony event, S Ramesh chairman - Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs said “Daya Shankar was an embodiment of inspiration and integrity, valour and grit, and left an indelible mark. He was a Daya (Mercy) and Shankar (Lord Shiva who is known for his anger). His contribution to department would always be remembered”. Gangster Dawood Ibrahim had once said that, if he were to be an inspector, he would have worked under Shankar.
The naming ceremony event was attended by Chief Commissioners of Customs Rajeev Tandon, A.P.S Suri, Vivek Johri, Sungita SharmaCC GST, Karnail Singh, DG Valuation and other retired and serving senior officers of CBIC. The ceremony concluded with Vote of Thanks by Ms Prachi Saroop, Commissioner of Customs (Audit), Mumbai Customs Zone-I.
Daya Shankar, the man from Bihar was a legend in Mumbai, Goa and Daman Customs. He was an illustrious officer of the Indian Revenue Service of 1978 batch. He took VRS from CBIC in 2005 and was teaching at Deakin University, Australia. He died on 12 August 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.
Daya Shankar was anti-smuggling expert known for his crackdown on gold smuggling networks.He operated in deep sea to trap wholesale gold consignments with skill and courage. Shankar's most famous crackdown was on Most Wanted Dawood Ibrahim. Appreciating his abilities, the Central Board of Excise and Customs always posted Shankar in notorious smuggling zones of Valsad in Gujarat, Goa and Mumbai airports and specialised agencies like the Marine and Preventive Wing or the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) over the years.
Shankar shot into limelight when he was posted at the Mumbai International Airport at a time when electronics and gold smuggling was at its peak in the 80s. His tactics forced smugglers to carry out their operations during his ‘off days’. In fact, notice boards were put up at airports in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and other places announcing his ‘duty timings’ as warnings!
He was never afraid of big names. In his career, he toppled many biggies including the Goa Chief Minister who was detained under COFEPOSA. As a true professional, he did not accept the official reward scheme introduced by V P Singh as Finance Minister, for detecting smuggling. For him, finding the smuggler was a part of work. He was no mercenary who demanded his share of the booty after the battle was won.