India’s most wanted criminal starred in 28 movies while in hiding

It took more than 30 years for Indian police to arrest a man wanted in connection with an alleged robbery and murder case. Om Prakash, who was on the list of “most wanted criminals” in the Indian state of Haryana, lived comfortably in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh. The frail-looking 63-year-old was arrested at his home in Ghaziabad earlier this week.

It wasn’t like Prakash was trying too hard to hide from the police. During this time, he appeared in at least 28 low-budget local films. One of these shorts, “Takrav”, has over 7 million views on YouTube.

Prakash, who worked as a truck driver for the Indian Army’s Signal Corps, was fired in 1988 for being absent from the service for a period of four years.

He had been involved in several criminal activities, including alleged robberies and murders. He was wanted in connection with a 1992 case in which a man was robbed and stabbed to death. Prakash managed to escape, but his accomplice was arrested and spent at least 7 years in prison for the crime.

He held a variety of jobs while in hiding, including selling VCRs (VCRs) and driving trucks. He finally “found his calling” and started acting in films in 2007.

The man acquired a new identity, married a local woman and raised three children with her. The family, however, had no idea of ​​his criminal past.

His case was gathering dust in a police station in Haryana when in 2020 the state formed a special task force to investigate organized crime cases and those involving crossing state borders. It was then that his case was reopened and he was declared Haryana’s “most wanted” criminal.

Police even announced a reward of 25,000 rupees ($315; £261) for information on his whereabouts. Investigators traveled to his hometown of Naraina in Haryana to ask locals if they knew anything.

“The operation was carried out in great secrecy because we feared that one false move could scare him away for another 30 years,” Sub-Inspector Vivek Kumar of the Special Task Force (STF) told the BBC. Haryana.

The team found a mobile number registered to Prakash’s name and eventually tracked down his new address. However, the task of the police is not yet finished. They will now have to prove in court that they arrested the right person.

Since the crime took place 30 years ago, the prosecution will have to find quality evidence to build a case against Prakash.

Crime scene
Crime scene police line | Representative image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON

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