Rajesh Pandey

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A brief biography

Nitasha Natu, Dec 22, 2019 Times of India

A greying man with a thick moustache shuffling around Andheri may not look anything like a Sherlock Holmes. But head constable Rajesh Pandey’s sleuthing skills have made him Mumbai Police’s most trusted investigator in missing persons’ cases. With 700 solved cases under his belt and a repertoire of disguises, Pandey’s work has impressed a filmmaker enough to seek a nod from the police department to make a film on his life and cases.

One of Pandey’s earliest cases was that of a boy kidnapped by his own estranged father in 2011. Since then, he has travelled across the country from Darjeeling to Delhi to locate missing people. “Solving missing persons’ cases, particularly those involving children, is for me a bigger priority than investigating a crime,” says the 52-year-old constable.

So impressed was former Mumbai police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar with Pandey’s style of work that he started something called the “Pandey module”. This basically meant that every officer working on such cases should adopt the same methods.

Pandey can be quite creative. In 2014, when a young domestic worker went missing, he was put on the job. “There were no leads till she suddenly called her employer one day. We tracked down the phone number to 24 Parganas district in Bengal,” said Pandey.

Unsolved Andheri case still rankles: Mum cop

Has Served At 3 Police Stations In 26 Years

The head constable left for Bengal with his colleagues but the address registered against the phone number was vague. “We hit a dead end. I then called back the employer with a suggestion. I told her to dial the number, and tell the person on the line that a courier company needed to send a gift parcel and needed the complete address. She did so and I dressed up as a courier guy to go to that house,” said Pandey. He found that the woman had been forcibly married off and was prevented from contacting her parents. She was rescued and then brought back to Mumbai safely.

Pandey uses his social skills to good effect by building a rapport with tailors, guesthouse owners, hotel and bar employees who become his trusted information network. Another investigation tool he trusts is local search engine, Justdial.

An underaged girl from Santacruz had been kidnapped and her phone location was tracked to Diphu in Assam. “We had never heard of this place before. Through Justdial, I got the contact number of the Railway Protection Force in Diphu and narrated the case details. The girl and the kidnapper were found at the railway station and were kept under the RPF’s watch till the time we reached there,” said Pandey.

The head constable has worked at three police stations in his career of 26 years and has solved every missing case registered there since 2005, except one. “The disappearance of a 14-year-old girl from Andheri rankles. She has gone missing twice before and we have always brought her back. We hope to find her the third time too,” he said.

Additional commissioner (west region) Manoj Sharma, in whose jurisdiction Pandey is currently posted, said the constable is so good with solving missing persons’ cases that other police stations often seek his help.

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