In December 2010, a 28-year-old construction labourer was booked by Nehru Nagar police for brutally assaulting a woman in Kurla East. The accused was untraceable. On Thursday, when the police finally arrested Raja Bhimrao Rampure, they found that he had changed his religion and name, assuming a new identity to evade arrest.
Rampure, now 38, and officially Mohamed Riyaaz Shaikh, was arrested from Bhiwandi, where he had been living since 2011.The Nehru Nagar police said that in 2010, the accused was a resident of Vatsalabai Naik Nagar in Kurla (East). He used to live with his wife and daughter.
“With two other men, he had assaulted a middle-aged woman. The three were renovating the complainant’s house and there was a heated argument between them over payment. In the fit of rage, they had beaten her with bamboo and wooden sticks,” said police sub-inspector Dyaneshwar Patil of Nehru Nagar police station.
The police are now trying to trace the woman who had lodged a complaint at the time. A case was registered under Sections 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC. The two other workers were arrested and subsequently chargesheeted in April 2011.
The police said that Rampure had escaped with his family from his rented home in Kurla. They went to Solapur, his hometown, for a brief while. And when they returned, he had a new identity. “He is married to a Muslim woman, so in 2011, he decided to mislead the police by changing his religion,” said Patil. Rampure became Mohamed Riyaaz Shaikh.
“We have seized his PAN card and Aadhar card and in both his documents, his name is Mohamed Riyaaz Shaikh,” said an officer. Patil, who is tasked with locating accused persons who are absconding, had recently received a tip-off that Rampure may be living in Vashi Naka area. He said that he started looking for Rampure 15 days ago after his name came up during a discussion with his subordinates.
“We were checking the register in which we maintain the names of wanted criminals from our jurisdiction. When we were going to Vatsalabai Naik Nagar to find out about other accused, we visited the rented place where Rampure used to live. During inquiry, we befriended a few locals,” said an officer.
When the officials visited Vatsalabai Naik Nagar to take an update, a local who they had befriended with them, gave an address of Bharat Nagar area in Vashi Naka. The officials were told that this was Rampure’s new address. The investigators visited the address at Bharat Nagar area, but they did not find him.
They returned to Vatsalabai Naik Nagar in Kurla on Wednesday night. A local then gave information about a distant relative of Rampure. “We were told that the distant relative is a frequent visitor of the area. He too had stayed at Vatsalabai Naik nagar in Kurla but around 2010 he had shifted to Govandi,” said an officer.
The police then asked a local to call the man to Kurla early on Thursday.
“The distant relative did not know that Rampure was booked as an accused in the case,” said an officer. After getting his address out of him, the team went to Rampure’s residence at Gayatri Nagar area in Bhiwandi on Thursday.
“After we reached his house, we were told that he works at a construction site in Ulhasnagar and he comes home once every 15 days. So we lied to his wife as well and told her that we need to record his statement in a case and asked him to come to Khemani road in Ulhasnagar,” said an officer.
Rampure came to Khemani Road, but immediately sensed something was amiss and tried to escape. “But we managed to get hold of him and brought him to the police station for inquiry.”
He tried misleading the investigators as he maintained that he was not the one the police were looking for. “He kept telling us that he is Shaikh and the person we were looking for is a Hindu. He had grown a beard so that to the confusion,” said Patil.
However, the police then called the distant relatives who identified him. The Nehru Nagar police then arrested him. “During sustained interrogation, he confessed to the crime and revealed that he had changed his name and religion to avoid arrest,” said senior police inspector Vilas Shinde.
The accused was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody.
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