Retired Superintendent of Customs Harish Marolia, who shot Hemani Mehta (14) on Thursday at the Andheri building in which he lived, was an introvert and generally remained aloof at work, said Customs officials who knew him.
They said Marolia (65) had mood swings and would flare up at the slightest provocation. This was why he did not have cordial relations with many colleagues. The officials also said, on condition of anonymity, that his behaviour was not always normal.
Marolia was known for having frequent arguments with his seniors. He took voluntary retirement in November 2006, though he could have served till 2013.
“When some of us asked why he left the service prematurely, he said his seniors had no respect for his knowledge and the department was not worth it,” said a superintendent. He added that in the past two years Marolia frequently quarrelled with his neighbours. “He looked disturbed and depressed most of the time,” said the superintendent.
Just before retirement, Marolia enrolled for a law degree at Siddharth College in South Mumbai, completing it in 2007. After retirement, he started a consultancy.
Hailing from Gujarat, Marolia started his career with Central Excise in the late 1970s. Ten years later, he sought a transfer to the Customs department. He was posted there as a preventive officer.
“Since he took a transfer, his experience of 10 years in the excise department was not considered while allotting him the post,” said an official. Officials said Marolia would have retired as assistant commissioner if the experience had been considered. “The loss of his seniority disturbed him,” the official said.
In Customs, Marolia rarely got good postings because of his strange behaviour. His last posting was at the Preventive Commissionerate at Ballard Pier.
Senior Customs officials have asked the Vigilance Department (Customs) to dig out Marolia’s service background as the police would require it.