A hurried change of clothes by a policeman, fearful of receiving a dressing-down from superiors for donning civilian garb at a crime spot, has put him in the doghouse, in the ongoing investigations of a robbery-murder. MiD DAY had earlier reported how a senior citizen was found slaughtered on Friday in her Bhandup (East) house (‘56-year-old woman found murdered in apartment’, April 27).
Crime Branch officials looking into the case found an abandoned shirt wrapped in a polythene bag from the victim’s apartment. A dog squad was called. After the hound was made to sniff the shirt, he started barking furiously at a constable manning the crime scene. Cops drew all the incriminating conclusions against one of their own. But the truth of the matter ended up making the constable in question look more of a mutt than a murderer.
Here’s how his shirt ended up at the crime scene: he had put it there himself. The constable was off duty when he was asked to report to the murder spot. He rushed to the scene in the clothes he was wearing at the time: a shirt thrown over his uniform. A police officer told MiD DAY, “Policemen usually rush to the spot after they come to know that a major crime has taken place, given that we are short-staffed.
But after the constable in question reached the spot clad in a casual shirt, he learnt that his superiors, including a senior inspector and an assistant commissioner, were going to visit shortly. In order to avoid a scolding for being in plain clothes, he hastily removed the shirt he was wearing over his uniform, stuffed it in a plastic bag and shoved it into a corner of the room (of the victim’s apartment). The same shirt was later found by Crime Branch officials.”
Sleuths had earlier recovered two pairs of gloves from near the washbasin in the house, which they thought belonged to the accused. So they assumed that the shirt had also been left behind by the offender. They looked at the tailor’s logo on the shirt and found that he was based in Dombivli. A Crime Branch team was dispatched all the way to the far central suburb to trace the accused through the dressmaker.
Meanwhile, the sniffer dog reached the spot and soaked in the shirt’s odour. “All these events occurred in the room on the first floor while the constable who had discarded the shirt was downstairs managing the crowd gathered at the building. When the sniffer dog was taken downstairs, he wouldn’t leave the building,” the officer said.
Growling and roaring, the hound located the shirt’s owner. Everyone was wide-eyed as the dog strained at the leash and bared his fangs at the sight of the constable. The constable, who remembered his forgotten piece of vestment causing all the uproar, had to come clean. Police officials verified that the shirt indeed belonged to him. The Crime Branch team, which was sent to Dombivli to look for the tailor, was recalled. And the case investigations were back on track after the avoidable deviation. The force withheld the identity of the constable for obvious reasons.