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.
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, who was probing the Malegaon blasts case, suffered three bullet injuries in his chest as he was leading the offensive against the terrorists in one of the places the ultras had holed out early this 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, a 1982 batch IPS officer, became the head of ATS in January this year following his return to the state cadre after serving seven years in Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Austria.
One of the brightest officers, Karkare had solved the serial bomb blasts in Thane, Vashi and Panvel and was also credited for the stunning revelations in the investigation of the September 29 blast in Malegaon. He is 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."
Incidentally, the Pune ATS on November 26 reportedly received phone calls threatening to blow up the residence of Karkare "within a couple of days".
In his last interview to a television channel yesterday, he referred to getting the custody of Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and said "police custody would have helped investigations to proceed faster but still we will see how best to deal with it in a legal way".