When they got a phone call from a nationalised bank to check out the background of one their officers in Kannur, the Kerala police would not have even imagined that their quarry could turn out to be the subject of one of the biggest manhunts in the country in recent years — Bitti Mohanty.
Bitti, the son of a top police officer in Odisha, had raped a German woman in Alwar in 2006, served six months in jail, and then was paroled to visit his ailing mother, only to vanish into thin air. His father, then a DGP in Odisha, claimed that he had nothing to do with his disappearance.
On Friday night, the police arrested Raghav Rajan, an officer of the State Bank of Travancore, and were shocked when he confessed that he was Bitti Mohanty. What he narrated further was straight out of a script for a Bollywood potboiler.
Bitti was living in Kerala for the past three-and-a-half years, had a fake passport, a driving licence and even a college degree certificate in the name of Raghav Rajan. He got an MBA degree from a Kannur college and was working in the bank for two years now.
Mohanty was convicted in March 2006 for raping a 26-year-old German national in a hotel in Alwar, Rajasthan. On November 20 that year, after spending seven months in jail, he was released on parol to meet his ailing mother, with his father BB Mohanty, then Odisha DGP for home guards and fire services, standing surety for his return to prison in 15 days. When Bitti jumped parole, Mohanty was accused of helping him escape.
As the Kannur police unravelled the saga of the fugitive from justice for six years, it turned out that after he gave police the slip in 2006, Bitti fled Rajasthan for Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. He wandered around in the state for three years, changing towns.
“We do not know about his antecedents, we are presently pursuing the matter with the Rajasthan police. Initial information from the Rajasthan police more or less matches with the identification of Bitti Mohanty, but a police team is arriving in Kannur by Sunday who will give us the right picture,” additional director general of Kerala Police (North Zone) Shankar Reddy told DNA.
“We have sent him to Judicial custody till Monday. The Kannur police arrested him on Friday night on charges of impersonation. On checking his papers, we found all documents gave rise to suspicion. For all practical reasons he is now Raghav Rajan as per the papers. But only after the Rajasthan Police arrive that we will know if he is Bitti Mohanty or not,” KS Balasubramanian, Director General of Police, Kerala, told DNA.
“We do not know how he got into the banking service with all that racket behind him, but as per his records that he produced he was identified as Raghav Rajan, even his salary is being remitted in that name,” a bank official told DNA on condition of anonymity.