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Police hunt for top dog

Hyderabad, Dec. 8: A four-year-old kidnapped from the heart of the city is bad enough for police’s image. But when the captive is a member of a former boss’s household, it’s time for some desperate sleuthing.

The only comforting thought is that the VIP hostage is unlikely to have been harmed. Compared with your usual four-year-old, he is rather strongly built and can take care of a couple of adult humans on his own.

Former city police commissioner M.V. Krishna Rao has lost his pet Alsatian. A team of six constables and a reserve assistant sub-inspector has, therefore, fanned out across Hyderabad’s narrow lanes, eyes peeled for suspicious characters with a dog on a leash.

Rao, who now heads the State Road Transport Corporation, says Bheema II (named after his first Alsatian, Bheema, which died a year ago) has been missing since December 1.

“My dog went out to relieve himself as usual,” his police complaint reads. “My cook let him out but Bheema did not return as usual.”

The Sanjeev Reddy Nagar police station has started a case under section 379 of the Indian Penal Code against “unknown persons” for “enticing a dog/cat with eatables with an intent to steal it”.

“We have the dog’s photograph and have set up a search team,” said inspector A. Venkatratnam.

Rao’s personal staff said he had gone off food completely after the dog’s disappearance, but has resumed eating.

The former police boss, who has two other dogs, both Labradors, told reporters in a broken voice: “Banda and Bubbly are my only solace now.”

Both Rao and SR Nagar police have announced rewards of Rs 2,500 for information on the dog or his delivery. News reports on the cash awards have appeared in local dailies.

Officers couldn’t recall ever having to investigate missing pets before. But government doctors had to face a Telugu Desam minister’s fury over an injured pet in the ’90s.

The then education minister P. Ananda Gajapathiraju’s wife Uma Gajapathi Raju (now married to Romesh Sharma of New Delhi Times fame) had ranted at doctors of the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences for refusing to treat her pet deer cub.

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