She is no Gouri Bhonsle. And neither is she British. But she used the name, aired on TV channels as the promotion of a new serial, to make good her escape from the 'captivity' of her husband and almost got away with it.
In the process, the police suffered a major embarrassment as the story of the girl's abduction a few days after coming to India from London turned out to be fake a day after it was reported that she had been rescued by villagers in the Deoband area of Saharanpur.
All the way, the men in khaki erred and how! First, they perhaps misunderstood the promo as an advertisement on information about a missing person. And then, taken in by the story cooked up by the fake Gouri, they briefed the media without verifying the facts.
But the truth about the girl (a resident of Malda in West Bengal), whose real identity the police are not disclosing, came out when a few journalists pointed to her resemblance with the character being shown in the TV show promos.
Caught on the wrong foot, senior superintendent of police DC Mishra has now tried to pass the buck, blaming the media for the whole mess. He also denied having briefed the media on the issue a day ago.
"I did not conduct a press conference on the issue," he told the HT. His denial flew in the face of the fact that the inspector general of police (law and order) also briefed the media in the state capital on the basis of inputs provided by the district police.
"What appeared in the media was an extract of the girl's written statement to the SDM's court in Deoband," added the SSP who refused to accept the fact that the district police's blunder had embarrassed the entire force in the state.
As part of a damage control exercise now, police teams have been sent to different locations to verify the story narrated by the girl who eloped with her lover Irfan from Malda in the last week of September.
After spending a few days with him in Shimla, she came to New Delhi on October 16 and hired a cab for the old Delhi railway station to board a train to Malda.
When she asked the cab driver Mukesh Tyagi to arrange some food, he allegedly offered her a meal laced with intoxicants at his home.
When she regained consciousness the next day, she found herself in Dehradun and was introduced to a woman activist.
According to the police, the driver and the activist then forced her to go for marriage. Mukesh, a resident of Sabreena village in Deoband, also introduced her to Raju and Walesh of his neighbouring village Talheri Bujurg.
Later, she got married to Raju, a milkman, and started living with him at Talheri She got fed up with the marriage in 10 days and telephoned a friend in Malda who told her about the TV promo and suggested that she pose as Gouri to script an escape from her troubles.
The girl then sent a letter to the Deoband subdivisional magistrate on Tuesday by claiming to be the missing British girl. It was then that the police came into the picture only to have egg on their face.