He was just like one of those millions of middle-class men going about eking a living in the busy metropolis of Mumbai.
Holding an umbrella to guard against the unpredictable Mumbai rains, well-groomed in a simple sort of way with hair neatly combed and the faint fragrance of coconut oil coming from his body, he also appeared a bit fastidious by carrying a hand-mirror that he would look into every few minutes to check his appearance.
Except that he wasn’t an ordinary man. He was called ‘Raghav the Ripper’, India’s own version of ‘Jack the Ripper’.
Calling Raman Raghav as India’s most notorious serial killer would be an understatement. He was the killer who single-handedly brought a busy metropolis to its toes, casting a spell of fear and paranoia all over the city. In just three years in the 1960s, Raman’s killing spree forced the complete shutdown of a city with people preferring to stay indoors rather than being bludgeoned to death by him.
And his favorite targets were poor people, the slum dwellers, and the pavement dwellers who slept in the open. He used a regular steel rod to break skulls and faces mercilessly. Between 1965 to 1968 in two phases, Raman is believed to have killed at least 40 people at various locations in the city. His fear assumed such mammoth proportions that rumors started spreading that the killer possesses supernatural powers and can kill at ‘will’.
Around the same time, a young, brilliant cop Ramakant Kulkarni took over the crime branch of Mumbai Police. Raghav’s case came to him as he decided to put himself into Raghav’s shoes and search for a pattern in the killing. His observations finally made him suspect Raghav and after a lot of legwork and surveillance, Raghav was finally arrested by a sub-inspector from his team who recognized him from photographs and descriptions given by those who had survived his attacks.
His character has been immortalized in a 2016 Bollywood movie Raman Raghav 2.0, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the bloodthirsty serial killer.