He persistently stalked a group of women journalists in Uttar Pradesh for nine months — and managed to give authorities the slip.
But police finally arrested Saddam, who also goes by the name of Nishu, on Tuesday, less than a day after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav directed them to find him.
Police used phone surveillance to track down Nishu, who was found with 40 SIM cards — all bought through fake identity proofs — that he used to call the women journalists of Khabar Lahariya, a newspaper run by women in Banda district.
Nishu had been calling the women since January, but no action was taken despite complaints by the women that he was abusing them, threatening them and also sending them obscene messages.
An FIR was lodged in Banda on January 22, but Khabar Lahariya journalists say no efforts were made to track him down.
“When the women lodged the FIR in January, efforts were made to track the caller and he was traced. The police went to his house to arrest him, but he wasn’t available at home,” said Rakesh Shankar, Banda superintendent of police.
Khabar Lahariya editor Kavita recounted the manner in which Nishu harassed the women for months, creating a buzz on social media and prompting the chief minister to order action.
“He’d call us when we were in the field, when we were out reporting or distributing our paper. He always knew where we were, what we were doing,” she wrote in The Ladies Finger, a website devoted to raising awareness about women’s issues.
“Each time, the call would be from a different number. When we didn’t answer, he’d message, and message again, and again,” she said.
Nishu admitted to police he would call the women.
However, he said he called the journalists for official purposes as he runs an NGO.
Kavita says he harassed the women in front of police, but no action was taken against him.
“I went to the police station in Banda. Nishu was brought in front of me. I had never seen that fellow before. He looked mischievous and did not hesitate to threaten me in front of the cops. He said he would torture me even more,” she said.
The caller has been booked on charges of forgery, fraud and extortion.