Posters in Mumbai locals: Man masquerades as multiple Bangali Babas!

The RPF caught three men pasting posters of the Babas in trains parked in the Andheri yard and they led the police to five other men; one man, who pretended to be at least four different Babas, is still at large

If you’re looking for one guaranteed, all-encompassing solution to your love, career, family, business, marriage, loan, fertility, health, education and even visa problems, you may now have to try a little harder than making one phone call to get it.

Some of the posters recovered from the gang
Some of the posters recovered from the gang

Meanwhile, you can derive joy from the fact that a major eyesore will now be removed from local trains. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Western Railway has nabbed an agent and seven of his employees who used to plaster local trains with posters of a mysterious Baba Bangali and at least three other Babas, who would claim to solve all problems with just one call.

Rehan Akhtar Khan (19) is one of two people who are believed to be at the helm of the racket
Rehan Akhtar Khan (19) is one of two people who are believed to be at the helm of the racket

Two friends are believed to be the masterminds of the racket. One of them became the voice for all of the Babas on the posters, and the other oversaw communication and ensured that the posters were pasted in the local trains. While the Baba himself is at large, the suspected agent is in the police net.

According to senior RPF officials, it took them a long time to catch the gang members because they were very aware of the activities of railway employees, and would sneak in to paste the posters when the trains would be in the yard.

Anand Vijay Jha, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (WR), said, “The team is operated by an agent who stays in Mira Road and, strangely, all the Babas are one person. He has different names and different phone numbers. The Baba and the agent became friends when they were in college. They got the printing done in Meerut.”

He also said that they are still looking for two more people from the team, Shahnawaj and Md Farid, one of whom is believed to be the Baba. “They are absconding, but we will catch them soon and make our railways cleaner,” added Jha.

Lying in wait
The men were caught by the RPF officials on April 7, when they were pasting the posters in local trains in the Andheri yard. After several failed attempts to catch them, the RPF decided to make three of its officials sleep in the parked trains, in civilian attire.

Three of the accused Md Sohail Dilshad, Amish Majhar Ahmed and Juber Boby Khan (all of them 19 years old) were caught red-handed with 1,500 posters of different Babas. Based on information given by them, four men Md Sharukh Jarif, Feroz Mehboob Khan and Sharukh Omid Ali (all 19) and Dilshad Ishtiyaq Khan (27) were arrested from the Bandra yard.

The suspected agent Rehan Akhtar Khan (19) was picked up from his home in Mira Road. The team got the printing done from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, because the cost is lower there, and then got the posters to Mumbai by train. “During interrogation, they told us about some more bags with posters kept in a room in Bandra (West).

We seized 15,000 posters from there,” Jha told mid-day. The men were booked under Sections 144, 145 (b), 147 and 166 (b) of the Railway Act. They were fined R2,500 each and have been remanded in police custody till April 13.

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