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Thief on run arrested after 23 years

Spurred by the new superintendent’s drive to nab fugitives in old cases, the Ajmer police arrested Hamid recently

jaipur Updated: Aug 29, 2017 19:53 IST
Salik Ahmad
Salik Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,Thief on run,23 years

It was a cold and sunny February morning in 1994 when Mohammad Mustafa in Ajmer’s Gulab Bari opened the door to two visitors from Kerala – his wife’s brother and her distant cousin.

The duo had come for a pilgrimage to the Sufi shrine at Ajmer and camped at Mustafa’s house, Haripal Singh, the SHO of Alwar Gate police station, told HT.

A day or two later, the cousin, Abdul Hamid, who was 17 then, fled with a television set and Rs 7,800 from the house. The police went to Kerala and came back with the television set recovered from Hamid’s home. But Hamid was not found, the SHO said.

He was found 23 years later, with a changed name and address, by a team of Ajmer police.

Spurred by the new superintendent’s drive to nab fugitives in old cases, the team of three policemen from Alwar Gate police station left for Kerala’s Kasaragod on August 18 in pursuit of Hamid.

It seemed to be a wild goose chase as the police didn’t have a photograph of the man who had changed his name, and they could not understand the local language. They did not seek help from Mustafa’s brother-in-law as he had earlier expressed ignorance about Hamid’s whereabouts and the police suspected that he might alert Hamid.

“Two days later, we reached his old address in (Kasaragod) district’s Hosdurg area, described as ‘near Khopra Cottage Polytechnic College’, but found no trace of him,” said constable Shyam Singh Shekhawat.

The team then sought help from a local constable, Shrijeet, who had once gone to Ajmer chasing a criminal. Shrijeet, a bilingual, started assisting the Ajmer team. He also put the policemen up at an acquaintance’s place. With the language hurdle overcome with Shrijeet at their side, the team enquired people about the man.

After a day of groping in the dark, they found some clue, Shekhawat said. They were told that the man had sold his house in Hosdurg and was working at some hotel in Parappa area, 30 kms away. The police enquired at two-dozen hotels for their next clue.

“We were told that Hamid had made his own house and was running a small tea-hotel at the same place. We went to the described address and Hamid opened the door,” said Shekhawat.

He had changed his name from Abdul Hamid to Sahul Hamid. Shekhawat said Hamid had not mentioned his father’s name in his Aadhaar card, and instead, written ‘care of Jamila Bi’, using his mother’s name.

Hamid confessed that he had stolen the money and the television set 23 years ago. He was arrested on August 23, and presented in a court in Ajmer on August 26; he is now in judicial custody.

The superintendent of police announced that the team members who brought the thief to book would be felicitated.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 19:53 IST