Disguised stabber lived under cops' noses for 13 yrs

Soon after fleeing to escape a jail term in 1995, Pappu Gada had returned to the city sporting long hair and a flowing beard, and was running a grocery shop, barely a few kilometres from the MRA Marg police station

Thirteen long years ago, Pappu Gada (35) stabbed a couple over a minor dispute at Fort, and absconded. To elude the long arm of justice, Gada completely changed his appearance, and soon returned to resume a normal life in Dhobi Talao, just a few kilometres away from the police station that housed the cops who had been assigned the task of nabbing him. After a 13-year long stint as a successful convict (not-so-much) on the run, his luck ran out a few days ago, when a police informer spotted him and informed the local police of his whereabouts. He was arrested on Monday.

Stab and run: Gada and his friend Shekhar Mutya were under the
influence of alcohol and picked a fight with the couple. Gada stabbed
the man and fled the scene, however, Mutya was arrested and tried in
the case. graphic/jishu dev malakar

"When the incident occurred in 1995, Gada was in the company of his friend Shekhar Mutya. Both were under the influence of alcohol and picked a fight with the couple, and stabbed them when matters heated up. Though Mutya remained present for every hearing of the case, Gada remained untraceable," said an officer from the MRA Marg police station.

After the incident in 1995, the couple had lodged a complaint with the MRA Marg police station, after which the accused were arrested by the MRA Marg police, and released on bail. When Gada was subsequently summoned to court for a hearing, however, he skipped bail and absconded. The court then sentenced him to a four-year term in jail, along with a fine of Rs 500, ordering the cops to nab him as soon as possible.

Gada had been on the run since then. After 13 years, he came up on the police radar, when an informer tipped off the officers at MRA Marg station that Gada was back in flesh and blood in the city, and was leading the life of a regular man just a few miles away from the police station. The informer also intimated the cops that Gada had completely transformed his appearance, and now sported a flowing beard and long hair. He had opened a grocery shop in his locality, and was living comfortably, right under the cops' unsuspecting noses.

"We immediately approached Gada and tried to verify the information we had received from our informant. He flatly refused the facts, and identified himself as Laxmichand. However, when we interrogated him at length, he broke down and confessed. Even his neighbours, who have been acquainted with him, were shocked and taken aback when they found out that the man next door was a criminal who had been on the run for 13 years," the officer added.

Shashikant Satav, assistant commissioner of police for the Azad Maidan division, said, "Since he fled, teams had searched for him at all possible hideouts at Modi Street (Fort), Santacruz and Marine Lines at regular intervals. But there was no trace of him." 

After being arrested on charges of attempted murder, Gada was produced at the metropolitan magistrate court on Monday, and has been remanded in judicial custody. 

The Case
On June 18, 1995, Anand Salvi and his wife Chandrabhagha were walking down Sir PM Road in Fort, when the two accused in the case - Shekar Mutya and Laxmichand alias Pappu Gada - got involved in an altercation with them, and allegedly stabbed them using a knife.
Both Gada and Mutya were drunk.

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