He preferred that shroud of anonymity; it suited him well.
Some neighbours, who had caught a glimpse of him, thought he was a tuition teacher. Others speculated he was a well-read professional.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had lain in wait for six months before nabbing the 60-year-old alleged Naxalite, Surya Devra Prabhakar from Kanjurmarg on Tuesday.
He is believed to have been in Mumbai since 1999.
Senior ATS officials said it was an intelligence-based operation.
Prabhakar lived with a young couple, Manoj and Shagufta Pandit at MMRDA flats in Kanjurmarg.
The police said the Pandits told them that Prabhakar was a paying guest for five months.
Shagufta refused to speak, saying she was too disturbed to speak to media.
The neighbours told Hindustan Times that the Pandits used to be away throughout the day while Prabhakar stayed put.
A woman in a neighbouring flat said she had seen him for the first time last week. “Despite my repeated knocking, he refused to answer the door. When he did, he was very rude,” said the woman. “I saw papers scattered across the floor. I thought he was a professor busy writing something,” the woman said.
The neighbours described Prabhakar as a short, dark, bespectacled man with a thick mop of hair.
ATS officials have impounded the central processing unit of Manoj Pandit’s computer and have sent it for forensic tests.
Manoj told the ATS that Prabhakar used his computer often.
ATS sources said Prabhakar had at least nine aliases. “We are trying to verify if he had documents for each of these names,” said K.P. Raghuvanshi, additional director general of police.
Prabhakar has told the police he was no longer part of the movement and had tendered his resignation.
An ATS source said they doubted they claim as Maoist literature had been had been recovered from him.