On the run for six years after he was convicted of raping a 26-year-old German tourist in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, Bittihotra ‘Bitti’ Mohanty, son of a former Odisha DGP, was arrested Friday night in north Kerala’s Kannur, a small city known for its beaches and political killings.
Bitti had jumped parole in November 2006 while serving a seven-year sentence in Jaipur, and the case had attracted frenzied media attention.
In these six years, the 31-year-old changed his identity — he took the name Raghav Raj — and appearance, forged dozens of certificates, did an MBA, got new friends and eventually a job with the public sector State Bank of Travancore (SBT).
He even came to be known as spiritually inclined, gentle and popular with women.
All was fine till an anonymous letter two days ago to the bank HQ in Thiruvananthapuram, with photos attached, blew his cover.
"The letter had social media clippings. We contacted the two references given by him but weren’t satisfied. So, we alerted the branch and advised them to contact the police," a spokesman said.
According to the police, it was a different crime in another corner of the country that led to Bitti's cover being blown — the December 16 gang rape.
"In the wake of the Delhi gang rape, his photo was among the pictures of sex offenders shown by social media and TV channels repeatedly. Someone identified him and alerted the bank," a senior police officer said.
Happy with the big catch, police, however, are still baffled by how he managed to give them the slip all these years while living his life fully in the public eye.
After jumping parole - granted so that he could visit his ailing mother in Cuttack - Bitti lay low till 2009, when he joined an institute in Kannur for an MBA. Soon after, he took up a teaching job at the same place.
Later, he appeared for a banking recruitment exam in Andhra Pradesh and was appointed probationary officer at the SBT branch in June 2012.
"He took the name Raghav Raj. His records with the bank show he is a resident of Andhra Pradesh," Kannur SP Rahul S Nair told HT.
A local court on Saturday remanded Bitti to 14 days judicial custody. A Rajasthan Police team is on its way to Kerala with an arrest warrant and plan to move a transfer application on Monday.