Lucknow: Two wanted criminals of Uttar Pradesh were arrested recently, years after they were declared dead by their family members.
These are not rare instances in the state. There are over 200 people accused in various cases who the police believe are alive though they have been taken to be dead.
"We have got leads in more than 200 cases to suspect that the accused might be alive, " a senior police official told IANS requesting anonymity.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Brijlal conceded that faking death was "the most easy way to evade arrest". He said this was an "age-old" trick.
"Local intelligence units of all the districts keep a regular vigil on such cases. All efforts are on to arrest the so-called 'dead' accused," Brijlal told IANS.
Some cases are striking.
The Lucknow police June 16 arrested Dilip, of neighbouring Rae Bareli district, who is accused in a decade-old double murder. He was picked up from Defence Colony in the Cantonment area.
"Dilip was involved in the killing and looting of an autorickshaw driver and his helper in 1994 in Rae Bareli. He succeeded in evading arrest. His mother had told the court that he had died," Senior Superintendent of Police Akhil Kumar told IANS.
Similarly, the police arrested a postal department clerk posted at the Medical College post office in Aligarh June 10.
According to the police, the clerk, Shyam Babu, was involved in financial bungling amounting to around Rs.2 crore. The scandal surfaced in April.
To escape punishment, Babu lured an alcoholic to a bar. After making him drunk, he allegedly pushed him on the railway tracks near the Hathras railway junction.
He mutilated his body to ensure it could not be identified. Then, Babu left his belongings around the body so that the dead man could be mistaken for him.
"We got information from senior officials of the postal department that Babu is alive and found this to be correct. We nabbed him from the suburbs of the city," Aligarh's Senior Superintendent of Police Asim Arun said.
Similar cases keep surfacing in the state at regular intervals.
In 2001, the Lucknow police arrested an A class history-sheeter (hardcore criminal in police language) of Barabanki district.
"Before he absconded from Barabanki, the criminal, Sanjay, killed a person identical to him in physique. To make people believe it was he who had got killed, he left the case diary of criminal cases slapped on him, a wallet and a gold chain near the deceased," a police official recounted.
Sanjay was finally arrested from a house in the posh Gomtinagar locality of the city in 2001 after a tip-off.
In a similar catch, the Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police arrested another dreaded criminal from the state's western region in neighboring Rajasthan.