As social media users, we often forward photographs of missing people/children. For us, it’s a mere share/post, but for our men in uniform the task is to actually trace them and bring them back safely to their families.
Meet one such celebrated hero of our Mumbai Police who has worked as a head constable at three police stations in his career of 26 years and has solved every single missing case registered there since 2005.
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- Rajesh Pandey is Mumbai Police’s most trusted investigator when it comes to cases of missing persons
- With nearly 700 cases under his belt, police constable Rajesh Pandey is Mumbai Police’s go-to man when it comes to cracking a missing persons case
- He has managed to reunite several children with their parents
- Pandey has a ‘zero missing persons’ record at every police station he has worked so far, which had prompted Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar to create a Pandey module couple of years ago
- Every Mumbai police station and officer now has the module while solving missing persons cases
- This basically means that every officer working on such cases should follow the same methods
- 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
- The 52-year-old constable admits that solving missing persons’ case, especially that of children is a bigger priority for him than investigating a crime
- Rajesh started his career in 1993 and says that if not for his father’s death, he was all set to quit the police force
- It was the need to raise his four younger sisters that kept him going
- Over the past several years, Pandey has managed to trace and bring back missing children from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Ranchi
- According to the Mumbai Police’s Sherlock Holmes, children run away from their families due to education-related stress and domestic violence
- After leaving their home, the children end up living on streets and begin begging for food
- In many cases, Rajesh indicates he has witnessed, that the parents do not inform the police once their children were found
Mobile phones are a great tool to track people’s locations. WhatsApp is also an important tool for sharing information pertaining to missing persons. Technology has definitely helped us in cracking some challenging cases.
Senior police inspector Sudhir Mahadik had called Pandey Missing Children’s Messiah for Mumbai Police. He quoted:
He has emerged as a missing children’s messiah for the Mumbai Police. He has helped track close to 700 missing children and reunite them with their parents.
- Pandey skilfully uses location tracing and social networking sites to track down missing persons
- He also uses his communication and engagement 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
When an underaged girl from Santacruz had been kidnapped and her phone location was tracked to Diphu in Assam, the police had never heard of this place before. Through Justdial, Pandey traced 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 they reached there.
According to Pandey, most missing children did not even know their address to return home. Due to sudden spike in missing cases of minors, the Mumbai Police had started Operation Muskaan in January 2018, an initiative that had received outstanding response from the department. The drive had helped reunite hundreds of missing children with their families.
From Real To Bollywood Dabangg Pandey ji
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.