The crowds thronging the congested bylanes of Lakshmi Nagar in Goregaon (West) didn’t know who Bharat Thakur is, even though he reportedly lives in the same area.
Thakur is a witness against alleged 26/11 mapmaker, Fahim Ansari, and was reported missing on Tuesday when the police went there to serve him a summons to be present in court.
Nuruddin Shaikh, a key witness in the case, had testified that he had gone to Nepal with Thakur in January 2008.
“I’ve been living in this area since the last 26 years but I’ve never heard of anyone by this name staying here,” said Abdul Haji, a tea vendor whose stall is the first sight in the lane.
Several other shopkeepers and residents said they had not heard of Thakur, and that the only possible way to reach him might be through Shaikh’s family which also lives there.
“My son works with a transport company and is out of the city presently. I have never come across the name Bharat Thakur and have no idea if he was friends with Nuru,” said Shaikh’s 60-year-old father Mehboob Shaikh.
One local who knew of someone called Bharat pointed to a rickshaw driver, whose wife Seema said his full name is Bharat Singh Thapa and that he is very much in town. “My husband has gone on duty and has also been to Nepal a couple of times but has never spoken to Nuruddin.
“We are from Nepal but my husband is very much here and is not involved in any case,” she added.
Locals from the Lakshmi Nagar slums seemed clueless about Thakur. Three people going by the name of Bharat live in the slums, two of them rickshaw drivers.
The third Bharat’s landlord said his surname is Sharma, and that he has just arrived in Mumbai five days ago.
All three are not the Bharat Thakur whom police have declared missing from three months.