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Smiling assassin disappears

Mumbai, Nov. 26: Rajnarayan Namdeo has disappeared. As suddenly as he had shot into the limelight after killing his senior in an airport hostage drama that had the country riveted for days.

The dismissed Central Industrial Security Force jawan, whose picture was on every newspaper on May 25 a day after he shot his commandant Arun Karanjikar and held six colleagues hostage at the international airport, was to surrender before a sessions court on November 20.

Six days after the deadline, Namdeo — who was granted bail on October 6 — has been declared an absconder and the court has issued non-bailable warrants against him.

The high court had earlier dismissed his bail petition on November 13 and it was rumoured that Namdeo was hiding in Delhi so that he could appeal before the Supreme Court. But legal experts said the apex court would not entertain his plea unless he surrendered.

The search for the renegade constable has so far proved futile. “His family, living in the RCF quarters at Chembur, said they know nothing about him,” said senior inspector Suresh Marathe of Sahar police, who are probing the case. “Nobody seems to know where he is. We are still looking and hope to find him.”

After the airport shootout, Namdeo had given himself up when senior policeman Bipin Bihari and others spoke to him and convinced him that his problems would be looked into and he would get a fair deal.

Namdeo had said there was too much tension and stress in the CISF and his immediate provocation had been Karanjikar’s refusal to grant him leave. “I did all this for you,” the smiling constable, who showed no regret, had said to his colleagues moments after his arrest.

On July 6, Namdeo, who claimed to be unsettled and disoriented because of his job, had appealed to the court to release him on bail on humanitarian grounds. The sessions court granted him bail on October 6, by which time the police had filed a chargesheet and slapped him with IPC Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 342 (wrongful confinement).

Namdeo’s lawyer Majeed Memon and his family members say they have no idea about his whereabouts. His mother Umadevi said she has not been in touch with him for “quite some time” and was unaware that he was supposed to surrender.

Memon said he has not spoken to Namdeo for four days and added that if he found his client, he would advise him to surrender at the earliest.

Namdeo’s trial was set to begin on November 21, but after he failed to appear, his lawyer pushed for an exemption which was quashed. Sessions judge .P. Dalvi issued non-bailable warrants against the constable after the police approached the court with their plea.

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