A 'most wanted criminal’ in India acted in 28 films and hid for 30 years

August 05, 2022
Om Prakash is in custody and has not commented on the accusations against him
Om Prakash is in custody and has not commented on the accusations against him

NEW DELHI — Om Prakash, also known as Pasha, figured on the list of "most wanted criminals" of police in the northern Indian state of Haryana.

For 30 years, the former Indian army employee, wanted in connection with an alleged robbery and murder, hid in plain sight in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh. There, he acquired a brand-new life with official documents, married a local woman and raised three children with her.

But earlier this week, his luck finally ran out when police arrested the frail 65-year-old from his home in a slum in Ghaziabad city.

Until his arrest, police say, Om Prakash wore several hats — driving a truck, touring nearby villages as part of a group to sing devotional songs on religious occasions, even acting in 28 low-budget local films.

Om Prakash is in custody and has not commented on the accusations against him, but Sub-Inspector Vivek Kumar of Haryana's Special Task Force (STF), who was part of the team that arrested him, told the BBC that he blames an alleged accomplice for the 1992 murder.

Two days after Om Prakash's arrest made headlines, BBC went in search of his family to hear their side of the story - and what they would say in his defence.

In the sprawling Harbans Nagar slum where narrow labyrinthine bylanes are unmarked and house numbers are not sequential, it took three-and-a-half hours to track them down.

BBC met Rajkumari, his wife of 25 years, and two of his three children — a 21-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.

From under the bedroom mattress, Rajkumari pulls out a Hindi newspaper with details of the accusations against her husband and says they are still in shock, that they had no idea about his "alleged criminal past" and that they are trying to wrap their heads around the revelations.

But they do not have anything charitable to say about him.

They also accuse him of betrayal. "I married him in 1997, not knowing that he was already married and had a family in Haryana," Rajkumari alleges. — BBC

August 05, 2022
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