For an officer who was at the forefront of Delhi Police's anti-terror operations for nearly a decade, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was an unassuming guy. You could talk to him for hours together without realising that he was the most sought after investigator in Delhi Police.
He was excellent with analysis of mobile numbers. A senior recalls, "From a single number, he would get so much information that we would be amazed." When Uttar Pradesh Police declared that the Ayodhya blast was Lashkar-e-Toiba's doing, Sharma and his team turned the case on its head by revealing Jaish-e-Mohammed's hand behind it. They had started working on the case with a single number given out by the police during a press briefing.
He was also an ace at placing dialects. "Just by hearing an intercepted conversation he could tell whether the speaker belonged to Bangladesh or West Bengal, Pakistan or Punjab," an officer said.
I first met Sharma eight years ago. Gradually, we got to know each other well. He would often say that given a laptop he could do his analysis anywhere. "My life is pretty boring. Once I step inside my office, I have no idea about the rest of the world. It's only when my staff reminds me that I realise it's time to go home," he would say.
There was another side to this supercop. He was a doting father and a loving husband. A day after the Delhi blasts, he looked a bit worried. When I asked, he said it was not the investigation but his son's mid-term exams that were to begin in the third week of September.
"I teach him maths. My wife manages the other subjects. But as I am in office till late in the night, it would be a problem."
I last spoke to Sharma on Friday morning, minutes before he left for Jamia Nagar saying that he would be back in an hour.