A south Delhi resident followed the scent doggedly after losing his beloved white Labrador, scouring websites that offer pets for sale, and finally leaving himself as well as cyber crime busters barking up the wrong tree.
Varun Chauhan, a 30-year-old banker, instinctively looked for four-year-old Bosco in OLX - the online marketplace for used goods - after four men reportedly whisked the adorable pooch away in an autorickshaw near Indraprastha Park on February 28.
He was jumping for joy after finding an advertisement for a Labrador that matched the physical details of Bosco, who he had bought for Rs 11,000 from a Khan Market pet shop. Bosco was a month-old pup then.
Chauhan immediately alerted Sarai Kale Khan police post and filed a complaint with the cyber cell of the economic offences wing (EOW). He even kept animal rights activists in the loop so that the case was not treated as a routine theft and announced a cash reward of Rs 30,000 for information on Bosco.
His suspicion grew stronger when he, posing as a potential buyer, tried to contact the suspect on the cell phone number mentioned in the advertisement. The number didn't exist and the OLX support team wouldn't divulge details of the seller. Chauhan was almost sure now he has found Bosco.
But OLX said it was against its policy to share such details with a private individual but these could be divulged on request from law-enforcement agencies. Responding to Chauhan's emails, an OLX executive told him the website has removed the advertisement and banned the user.
"All relevant details available with us in relation to the advertisement have been shared in writing (by email) with police on March 5, 2015. OLX has always been forthcoming in supporting the authorities and safeguarding the interests of the users. We do not share details with other users," a senior OLX official told HT.
Chauhan had little option but to mount pressure on the cyber cell to trace the suspect and the dog up for sale in OLX. "Chances of getting our dog back reduced after the advertisement was blocked. The cyber cell was our only hope," he said.
His persistence worked as a cyber cell team contacted them on Saturday: the suspect and the Labrador in the advertisement have been traced.
But that Labrador was not his. "When the dog was shown to us we found that he was not Bosco. We are still looking for Bosco," said Chauhan's brother Rahul.
Maybe, Bosco will have another day.