It is a dingy office located on the first floor of a building in the Mumbai police headquarters at Crawford Market. Heaps of files that occupy most of the space contain photographs and details of several criminals neatly bifurcated on the basis of the modus operandi they used.
This is the office of the Modus Operandi Bureau (MOB) that has been helping the city police track down criminals for more than 50 years.
The clues that a criminal leaves behind, knowingly or unknowingly, later become evidence that help crack the case. For a criminal, it may be his or her signature style but for the MOB, it is a crucial lead. The bureau files these leads for reference in similar cases.
“Every day, our records are updated as we get information from police stations across the city,” an officer from the MOB said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media.
“We maintain records of property offences and in cases of murder and kidnapping only if they are not acts of vengeance because then it does not point to a habitual criminal.”
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said, “The Modus Operandi Bureau is a very important detection tool because it helps us narrow down our investigation. We compare the pattern of the crime committed with similar offences in the past. In many cases, it could turn out that the same people are in involved.”