Officer who caught killer Raman Raghav dead
Retired assistant commissioner of police Alex Fialho, credited for the arrest of dreaded serial killer Raman Raghav in Mumbai in 1968, died at his residence here on Friday, a police official said on Saturday. He was 92.
Fialho is survived by his wife, sons, daughter and grandchildren. His last rites were performed at St Andrews Church in Bandra, he said.
Fialho had detected several cases, but he is best remembered for the arrest of Raghav, for which he was awarded the President’s Police Medal. Fialho, who was a police sub-inspector posted at Dongri police station at that time, had apprehended Raghav from Bhendi Bazar area of South Mumbai in 1968.
After the arrest, Raghav had confessed to committing at least 41 murders. Most of his victims were pavement and hut dwellers. Raghav terrorised Mumbai between 1966 and 1968, during which he bludgeoned to death several poor men and women with a hard and blunt object like an iron rod while they were asleep, police said. Fialho had apprehended Raghav in September 1968 merely on the basis of suspicion, a police official said.
“The police had launched a nationwide hunt for Raghav. PSI Fialho had studied the serial killing case and he used to carry the photo of Raghav along with him,” he said.
“When Fialho spotted Raghav in Mumbai, the latter was in blue shirt, khaki pant and canvas shoes. Raghav was carrying an umbrella. As Fialho wanted to see his reaction on spotting a police officer in uniform, he went close to Raghav. But on seeing him, Raghav crossed him and walked calmly,” the official said.
“Fialho then turned around and started following him. After walking some distance, he tapped Raghav on his back and asked him to come with him. As the umbrella that Raghav was carrying was wet although it was not raining in that area, Fialho verified and found out that it was raining in Malad suburb,” he added.
“He was informed that the man with that description was last spotted in Malad area. He then took Raghav to police quarters in Dongri for interrogation, where he identified himself as Sindhi Dalvai. On verification, it came to light that this was one of Raghav’s assumed name and fingerprints experts also confirmed his identity,” the officer said.
“Fialho was a very professional, knowledgeable and skilful police officer. He had the responsibility of handling cases of political importance at that time,” said retired ACP Suresh Walishetty, who worked under Fialho in 1980-82, when the latter was a senior police inspector in the crime branch.
After that, Fialho got promoted as ACP in Colaba division, he said, adding that he will always be remembered for the arrest of Raghav.
“The then Mumbai police commissioner E.S. Modak, who was happy with the arrest of Raghav, had even announced a cash reward of Rs 1,000 for Fialho,” he said. Raghav died in 1995 due to kidney failure at Sassoon General Hospital in Pune.