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Pheran, skull cap, beard: How Mumbai cops changed looks to corner Pallavi Purkayastha’s murderer

The cops had toiled for more than 18 months before arresting him from his home state Jammu and Kashmir

mumbai Updated: Oct 11, 2017 11:46 IST
Manish K Pathak
Manish K Pathak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Pallavi Purkayastha,Sajjad Mogul
Sajjad Mogul jumped parole in 2016. He was arrested by on Tuesday by Mumbai police from Gangangiri in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir .

Mumbai A four-member team of the Mumbai police that arrested the murderer of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, Sajjad Mogul, had toiled for more than 18 months before arresting him from his home state Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on Monday.

Police inspector Sanjay Nikam, head constable Dayanand Kamble, police naik Sandeep Kamble and constable Sandeep Talekar shuttled between Mumbai, Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi to track Mogul.

They wore Kashmiri attire “pheran” and skull cap, and sported beard to mingle with locals in the hostile terrain. Nikam had to lose a few kilos for the mission.

“We nearly froze in the 7 degrees Celsius temperature,” Nikam said. He also had to pierce his ears and pick up Urdu accent to look like a Muslim tourist. They had visited Srinagar and Baramulla a few times and once failed to trap Mogul in New Delhi. According to an official, he was always alert and kept changing his location and looks. He was in touch with his family and was aware that the police used to visit his village in Jammu and Kashmir. A week before Mogul’s arrest, the Mumbai police team learnt that he was working as an assistant electrician for a tunnel work project in Gagangiri village, about 50-60 kilometres from Srinagar and 300 km from his village.

The team waited for the entire night and in the morning when he reported for work, he was nabbed by them and brought to Mumbai by flight. An official said the team moved in prohibited areas around Srinagar to locate Mogul. The official admitted that the J&K police and locals helped them. The Army and the BSF cooperated with the team too, thanks to Pallavi’s father Atanu, who is an IAS officer.

Mogul would be handed over to the Nashik police on Wednesday.

(With inputs from Debashish Panigrahi)

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 09:18 IST