5 years, 225 arrests: Meet Mumbai's very own supercop

In just five years, 50-year-old constable Uday Palande single-handedly put 225 criminals behind bars — probably the most number of arrests made by any cop in the state

Meet Thane’s very own supercop — 50-year-old Uday Raghunath Palande — who was single-handedly responsible for putting a staggering 225 criminals behind bars in just five years. Over the years, he has come to be known as Thane’s very own Dabangg policeman, but even the most thrilling and action-packed cop movies can’t match up to the story of this singular cop, who hopes to hit 300 arrests soon.

On Maharashtra Day, yesterday, Uday Palande was felicitated with the Director General of Police Insignia award at the hands of Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde for his bravery in police work. Pic/Navneet Barhate
On Maharashtra Day, yesterday, Uday Palande was felicitated with the Director General of Police Insignia award at the hands of Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde for his bravery in police work. Pic/Navneet Barhate

While Palande’s family hails from Khed, Ratnagiri, they were based in Pune, where his father was an army captain with the Bombay Sappers. His father had high hopes that Uday would grow up to reach even greater heights in the army, but destiny had something else in mind for him. “My father was my inspiration and it was because of this that I started boxing, since that was a popular sport in the military circles. It was this hobby that gave me a direct entry into the police force on April 2, 1985 — when I was just 18 years old,” recalled Palande, who was felicitated with the Director General of Police Insignia award at the hands of Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde yesterday.

What’s interesting is that Palande spent a majority of his 31-year career in fairly routine postings, doing administrative and beat duties at police stations, or carrying out court service by escorting undertrial offenders to court. There was no glamorous crime-fighting in any of these postings, but Palande still recognised an opportunity. For over two decades, he quietly cultivated an extensive network of contacts comprising history-sheeters, lawyers and cops – all of which would prove useful later.

“During that period, I would visit the court on a daily basis and build contacts with criminals, advocates, police officers and other people. I learnt things like who the history-sheeters were, and which criminals were wanted,” said the 50-year-old.

Naturally gifted
It was thanks to this massive bank of contacts that Palande could hit the ground running when he was transferred to the Ulhasnagar Crime Branch in 2011. Not only did he get valuable tip-offs from his sources, Palande had a natural gift for crime detection – which he proved with his very first arrest in a near-perfect murder. The Mumbra police had registered a case of accidental death after a body was found in a lake, but it was Palande who figured out that it was a murder after a source tipped him off (see Case files).

Palande similarly cracked other cases, using his wits and innumerable sources, and many of these were serious crimes such as murder or major robberies. But solving so many crimes comes at a cost.

“My wife and kids support me a lot, but they also get angry and depressed because I am rarely there for family occasions. They have no idea when I’ll get home as I stay out for work for hours. Even if my shift is over, I get back to work the moment I get a call from an informant,” he explained.

All these years later, his hard work has paid off, as he is amongst the most distinguished cops in the Thane police department, with even the Thane Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh giving him high praise. In fact, the CP appreciated his work so much, he asked Palande to train other cops in the commisionerate as well. In the past three months, Palande has held training sessions across 34 police stations, with even senior police inspectors turning up to learn tips from him.

“As a constable, I am training even officers; what can be a greater achievement? All the cops turn up for the lectures to learn how to build contacts and use their network to trace the accused. The policemen get excited after these sessions and many even ask to help in solving cases,” said Palande.

Case files

First arrest
In 2011, Nivruti Patil nearly got away with the murder of his cousin brother. The Mumbra police registered an accidental case after the body was found in a lake. It was Palande who figured out that it was a murder.

It turned out the accused killed his cousin brother after he discovered he was having an affair with his cousin sister (a widow). The accused took the victim fishing, murdered him and then dumped the body in the lake to mislead cops. “Through my sources, I found out that it was a murder. I laid a trap for the suspect and arrested him after he confessed to the crime,” said Palande.

Wanted for 31 years
Nandasautaram Jadhav – a notorious robber – was declared a wanted man in 1979 but no one had managed to catch him till 2012. My sources told me he was holed up in Bhiwandi, so I waited outside his house for five days and finally arrested him. I hadn’t even told my family where I was for those few days,” said Palande.

Bomb blast
21-year-old Labu Shaikh was wanted for a bomb blast in West Bengal that killed one. Labu had been absconding for 10 months when Palande received information in February, that Shaikh was residing in a rented flat in Ulhasnagar.

The bomb blast was carried out over a family dispute, and the accused moved to Mumbai to escape the police.

High praise
Thane CP Param Bir Singh said, “No one can match his working style and performance, arresting so many accused. There are no words to describe his work. I think he must be the first person in Maharashtra police to arrest so many accused. During Crime Branch meetings, I ask him to share clues to solve cases. I have also assigned him the job of training cops how to work on the field.”

Crime detection 101
Murders: 8
Chain-snatching incidents: 45
Major house break-ins: 40
Motor vehicle theft: 6
Temple robberies: 2
Cheating: 4
Total major cases: 101

In 5 years…

Number of arrests made by Palande since he joined the Ulhasnagar Crime Branch in 2011

The number of cash rewards Palande has received from the police department for his performance

The number of certificates he has received in appreciation for his work

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