In the last 28 years, Nitin Madhve Yadav, 53, has been a part of several investigations carried out by Mumbai Police. But Yadav does not wear a uniform and his arms are mostly pencils and paper. While he may have once nursed the thought of joining the force, the drawing teacher found a way of being a part of it. “It’s been 28 years and I have made 4,000 sketches for the police, in which around 450 sketches helped detecting the case. I have charged nothing for making sketches for police in these 28 years. After SSC, I became a drawing teacher, which I always wanted to be apart from wanting to be a police inspector. But I prefer being a drawing teacher because this way I have time to teach students and I am called by all the police station for making sketches,” says Yadav.
The Kurla resident has got calls from police stations, to crime spot or at hospitals where victims are under treatment. Yadav says he made his first drawing when he was in Class IV and he was praised by his father. “It began there with that one word of appreciation from my father in 4th standard in school.” Yadav said that back in 1982, when he was in Class X, he overheard a few police officers talking about a murder case in Kurla and the way to solve it. “I told the police that can I make the sketch of the murderer on the description given by the witness. I made the sketch of the accused and that case was solved,” Yadav said.
In the decades that followed, the sketch artist drew faces of suspects in major cases in the city, including those of three accused in the Shakti Mills rape case in August 2013, the Pune German bakery blast case and more recently in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar who was shot dead in August 20, 2013.
An alumnus of the J J School of Arts, Yadav said, “In 2015, I was called by Wadala police station twice, once to make a sketch of an accused who had raped a 6-year-old girl and another case in which a 6-year-old boy was raped. My sketches helped cops solve the case.” Yadav has a drawing book in which he has made templates for different types of facial alignments, types of hair partitions, nose, lips and beard. He says the person can point out one of each to help me make a sketch. Yadav says that while he still teaches drawing for living, the rent he earns from a shop he owns also helps make ends meet. Yadav says: “If anyone comes to make a sketch, after making one I tell them to give whatever amount they feel is right. I don’t have a particular charge.”
Yadav takes pride in his 164 awards for his drawings including an award for Shakti Mills case sketch from former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh.