How “Serpent” Sobhraj Was Arrested In Goa 4 Decades Ago

'Charles, I know you': Police recall meeting with 'Bikini Killer' Sobhraj 4 decades ago

Charles Sobhraj, 78, is about to be released from prison in Nepal due to old age. (File)


Retired Assistant Mumbai Police Commissioner Madhukar Zende, who arrested serial killer Charles Sobhraj from Goa in 1986, on Thursday reacted cautiously to news that he was about to be released from prison in Nepal. , said that although he thinks scary criminals like Sobhraj should not get out of jail. life in prison, the criminal justice system thinks everything needs to be considered.

Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of Sobhraj (78 years old), a Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese descent who has been serving time in prison in the neighboring country since 2003 on murder charges. health and age.

Zende, as a Mumbai Crime Branch inspector, grabbed the notorious serial killer from a Goa hotel decades ago, telling PTI in an interview that criminals like Sobhraj were very dangerous to society and may commit more crimes if they get out of prison.

The 70-year-old has admitted to killing between 40 and 42 women and is a hardened criminal who can do anything if he comes out, Zende said.

When arrested at his hotel in Goa, Sobhraj tried to evade police by concealing his identity, but was unsuccessful, the retired police officer recalled.

“I think he shouldn’t spend his life in prison, he can commit more crimes, he’s dangerous to society, but what matters is what the criminal justice system thinks,” Zende said.

What is more appropriate for the justice system, he said, adding that “judges are wiser than the average person, that’s their decision and it’s wrong to comment on that.”

Recalling Sobhraj’s arrest, Zende said when he made an impressive escape from New Delhi’s top-security Tihar prison, it made international news in 1986.

Sobhraj wrote the script for his amazing escape from Tihar prison in mid-March 1986 by giving drug-laced candy to the prison staff under the pretext of celebrating his birthday.

Although there were six guards, three cars entered Tihar prison and 16 prisoners, including the notorious French serial killer, escaped, he said, adding that no one knew at the time. what does he look like.

“The next day, a newspaper in Mumbai published pictures of Sobhraj. I caught him in 1971 during a robbery so the newspaper ran a story saying that a Mumbai Police inspector knew Charles Sobhraj.” , I said.

Then Maharashtra DGP Suryakant Jog read the news.

On March 29, 1986, the Railway Police arrested a man with some connection to Sobhraj and this was forwarded to the then DGP, he said.

DGP immediately called Zende and planned to catch the notorious criminal.

Accordingly, several police squads were formed and one of them under Zende was sent to Goa.

At first, there were only two officers on the team and then more people joined, he said, adding that the team traveled to various locations in the tourist state in search of Sobhraj.

Zende knows Sobhraj has an American wife and he can contact her by phone.

“I went to the CTO (Central Telegraph Office) to check the phone call records. While showing the call register, an employee there provided information that there was a hotel called ‘O Coqueiro’ in Goa (in Porvorim), where foreigners can come immediately. call,” he said.

Zende rushed to the hotel with his team.

During an investigation near a motorbike taxi, a man provided information that a foreigner had rented a motorbike and roamed the state, the retired police officer said.

“On April 6 (1986), our group was at the hotel, where I saw Sobhraj enter inside. Immediately, I hid. Two officers were asked to stay outside the hotel, two who was on the block and the two of you were with me. There was no waste of time I pounced on him,” Zende said, recalling those dramatic moments.

“Sobhraj tried to avoid us and said ‘he doesn’t know who Charles is.’ I replied: ‘Charles, I know you well, I caught you in 1971 and you can’t forget me’,” the former scene said. Mumbai police said.

“He tried to reach for his revolver, but we confiscated it immediately,” he said.

Zende said Sobhraj was taken to Mumbai and arrested, adding that he was later taken to New Delhi on a Border Security Force (BSF) plane.

In 1971, he said, a team of Mumbai police caught him during a robbery.

Sobhraj carried out a robbery at the Ashoka hotel in Delhi and then went to Mumbai to commit the same crime at the Air India cashier, the retired police officer said.

Zende said he was arrested along with five other people and that weapons and ammunition were recovered from him.

Later, Sobhraj was nicknamed the ‘Bikini Killer’ for murdering at least 20 female tourists in South and Southeast Asia. He was convicted in a number of cases and spent time in prison from 1976 to 1997.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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