The Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Friday arrested a man who had been on the run after allegedly committing a murder in 2006.
The accused, Sureshsingh Rana, a catering supervisor living in Nallasopara, was arrested after the police received information that he would be arriving in Antop Hill for work. The Crime Branch, which had scanty information that Rana was wanted for the murder of Siraj Bahadurmiya in Aarey Colony in December 2006, called in police officers who had investigated the case 10 years ago.
“Rana had cut his hair and changed his appearance and given a false name to a fellow accused in the crime. We called the other accused and investigating officers from 2006 to help identify Rana,” a Crime Branch officer said.
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Rana, the officer added, had been roaming so freely since 2006 that he had not been recognised even after being recently arrested in Mumbai for illegally carrying a firearm without a licence.
“No one knew his real name until he was caught. So he slipped away,” the officer said.
According to the police, Rana, Irfan Sayyad and Mohammad Asif Shaikh had waylaid Bahadurmiya in Aarey Colony on December 29, 2006, and robbed him of his cell phone and money. They then allegedly bludgeoned him to death with a stone.
Sayyad and Shaikh, the police said, were arrested in 2008 but acquitted of the crime in 2011. “The police was unable to find Rana then because he had told the other accused that his name was Sanjay. He also gave false personal information to them,” the officer said.
All this while, the police said, Rana had been working his way up the catering business and recently rose to become a supervisor from being a cleaner in 2006.
The police first got on Rana’s trail when he met Sayyad in Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan last year. “Sayyad told him that there was nothing to fear, now that he had been acquitted,” the officer said.
The trail went cold after Sayyad died in a train accident. “But we kept on working to find him as we have been re-looking at old unsolved cases,” the officer added.
The police claimed that Rana was able to conceal his identity for this long because no verification is done in the catering business.
“No name is ever asked or address verified. Men are hired as per seasonal demands without any background check being done,” the officer said.