Dressed in lungis, caps, mufflers and chequered shirts, Mumbai Police officers had to don new persona in far off Hooghly district in West Bengal to apprehend a 24-year-old serial molester last Friday (11 December), who had been absconding since last February.
Cops from the Antop Hill and DN Nagar police stations had arrested the accused, Mohammad Badshah Mohammad Salim Shaikh for kidnapping and sexually assaulting two minor girls in 2018. He, however, escaped from the sessions court premises while he was being produced before it on 2 February 2019.
“Since then we have been looking for him. We were aware that he had fled to his native place at Boinchi area of Hooghly. But whenever we went there to arrest him, villagers would tip him off and he would escape. He would return once we left,” said an officer from Colaba police station.
In the first week of December, the Mumbai Police were informed that Shaikh had returned to his native place and was staying with his relative. A team was subsequently sent but like every other time, Shaikh escaped.
After the police came to know that Shaikh was likely to cross the border to Bangladesh, the team, rather than reaching out to his relatives, decided to get in touch with a man with whom the accused had had a tiff in the past.
“There was a local resident who had a feud with Badshah and he stayed at a distance of 20 feet from the accused. He allowed one of our constables to stay in his home,” said the officer.
He added that as their attire would often give indicate that they were coming from a city, the three policemen who had gone to arrest Shaikh bought lungis, mufflers, cap and dark chequered shirts. Dressed in them, one constable posed as a relative of the local resident and stayed at his place. “I would sit and keep an eye at Shaikh house,” said Constable Deepak Nikum. On 11 December, as Shaikh arrived at his relative’s house, Nikum, along with sub-inspectors Sachin Mandole and D Bhosale, arrested him with the help of the local police.
He was subsequently brought to Mumbai and is currently lodged in Taloja Central Jail.