The eldest child, Vijay and his three siblings had challenging lives when they were young. After completing his graduation in the arts stream from the Dalmia College in Malad, north Mumbai, he worked as an administrator at a shipping company for a salary of Rs 250 per month in 1983.
The clerical nature of the job soon bored him and he joined the New India Insurance company where, though the salary was good (Rs 750 per month), the nature of the job didn't excite him much.
One day when Salaskar was waiting for a bus he saw a ruffian intimidating schoolchildren. He got into a minor scuffle with the man as a crowd gathered. The police arrived, took them both to the nearest police station and kept Salaskar inside the police station for about 30 minutes.
'It was this chance visit to the police station that changed Vijay's life forever. He was very impressed with the respect that a policeman gets from the people. From that day he was determined to become a policeman.'
In 1983, he passed out as an officer from Nasik’s Police Training College, where he trained under former Maharashtra director general of police Arvind Inamdar, then in charge of the PTC.’
Joined Mumbai Police Force
Vijay Salaskar was a post-graduate in Commerce from Mumbai University. He joined Mumbai police as a sub inspector in 1983. India Today reports Salaskar's first lethal encounter occurred during his first year of appointment, when he shot dead Raja Shahabuddin, known to police on several counts. Salaskar, who was reportedly sidelined for the last two years for unearthing the gutka-underworld nexus, was recently attached to the crime branch, where he headed the anti-extortion cell.
An officer of the 1983 batch, Salaskar in his 24 years of service had eliminated many criminals. Amar Naik, Jaggu Shetty, Sadhu Shetty, Kundan Singh Rawat, Zahoor Makhanda are some of the gangsters who have fallen to Salaskar’s bullets. According to sources, the police officer had once even gone hunting for former don Arun Gawli. But Gawli fled from the scene, forcing Salaskar to return empty-handed. However, Salaskar got even by killing his two trusted men, Sada Pawle and Vijay Tandel, in 1997, triggering allegations that the encounters were fake. After this, Gawli was so scared that during the 2005 elections, he complained to the government that Salaskar was trying to kill him and requested that he be transferred.
This is what Salaskar said in 2004 about Gawli. “Gawli may have become an MLA. But for me, he continues to remain a former Mumbai don and I have to keep tabs on his activities. If I get any information of his group's involvement in a crime or learn about any shady activity going on at Dagdi Chawl, I will not hesitate to raid his Byculla residence. If I have to arrest him, I will not refrain from doing so. Now that Gawli is an MLA, arresting him will involve certain procedures. I will not bow to any political pressure. I will only take orders from the police commissioner, who is my supreme commander. It was embarrassing that khaki-clad policemen would be deployed to protect Gawli. In the past, we refused him police protection on several occasions. At that time, I had gunned down several of his top henchmen and so he was scared of me. But if Gawli is really reformed, he should not be afraid of me or any other policeman. We do not target innocent persons.'
Indian police officer Vijay Salaskar was one of at least three officers killed during the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, on November 26, 2008. He was head of the Anti-Extortion Cell, Mumbai. Reports indicated Salaskar, described as an 'Encounter Specialist,' was killed during an 'attack at Metro Cinema' in Mumbai. Commissioner Ashok Kamte reportedly died in the same attack. Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Chief Hemant Karkare was reportedly killed during an attack on the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
The following was stated by Constable Arun Jadhav, who was with the officers Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte and Hemant Karkare when they died. The three officers and four constables had received information that Sadanand Date had been wounded while resisting hostile terrorist action at the Cama and Albless Hospital for women and children. Currently located at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), a ten-minute drive from the hospital, they took a Toyota Qualis and proceeded in that direction. Salaskar was driving, Ashok Kamte in the passenger seat, Hemant Karkare in the second row, and the four Constables, including Jadhav, were in the back row of seating.
According to Jadhav, five minutes later two terrorists stepped out from behind a tree and opened fire with AK-47 automatic rifles. The six policemen, other than Jadhav, were all killed quickly in the gunfire. The wounded Jadhav had no opportunity to render assistance. The two terrorists approached the vehicle, dumped the bodies of the three officers on the road and, leaving the constables for dead, proceeded to Metro Junction. Upon arrival, they aimed three bursts of automatic fire at police and journalist vehicles drawn up at that location, then drove off towards the government offices (Vidhan Bhawan) in South Mumbai. Here again they fired several times. While attempting to leave the area, one of the tyres of the vehicle burst, so the terrorists departed to obtain another. At this point, Jadhav was able to contact headquarters. The bodies of the dead were promptly recovered and taken to St George Hospital.
Vijay Salaskar Quote: -
'In a shootout, no one has time for any kind of niceties. Either you kill or you get killed. I am plain lucky to still be alive. In this job, you know, we take one day at a time. Who can predict what tomorrow will bring?'—Salaskar's response, when asked 'How does it feel to kill a man, looking him in the eye?' during a 1999 interview.
Salaskar’s demise is a great loss to Mumbai Police & our country too. He is known for his studious approach. He was a fighter and determined to succeed in life. His efficiency is unmatched and concentration is unperturbed.
God bless his holy soul!