Bihar: An Indian court sentenced a guy who was found guilty of pretending to be the son of a wealthy landowner to 41 years in prison. Soutik Biswas of the BBC assembles a compelling tale of duplicity and justice’s slow delivery.
In the eastern state of Bihar in February 1977, a teenage boy vanished as he was returning home from school.
The lone child of a wealthy and powerful zamindar (landlord) in the Nalanda area, Kanhaiya Singh, was coming home from his second day of exams. His relatives filed a police “missing person complaint.”
The search for Kanhaiya was unsuccessful. His elderly father fell into depression and started seeing charlatans. He was informed that his son was alive and would soon “emerge” by a village shaman.
A man in his early 20s came in a village in September 1981, only 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Kanhaiya’s home.
He claimed to sing songs and ask for money while wearing saffron clothing. He claimed to be the “son of a significant person” from the village of Murgawan, where the missing youngster was last seen.
Uncertainty exists regarding what transpired afterwards. However, it is known that Kameshwar Singh visited the area to verify the reports that his lost son had returned.
Singh was informed by some of his neighbors who were with him that the man was in fact his son, so he took him home.
“Because of my deteriorating eyes, I can’t see him clearly. I will retain him if you claim that he is my son “According to police records, Singh informed the men.
Ramsakhi Devi, Singh’s wife, learned of her son’s homecoming four days later while she and her daughter Vidya were in the state capital of Patna. As soon as she got back to the hamlet, she realized the man was not her son.
She claimed that this individual lacked Kanhaiya’s “cut mark on the left side of his skull.” A teacher from the boy’s school was another person he failed to recognize. But Singh was persuaded that the man was their son.
Ramsakhi Devi filed a case of impersonation a few days after the incident, and the man was briefly detained and held in jail for a month before being released on bond.
A man purported to be the landlord’s lost son throughout the course of the following four decades in order to gain entry to his home. What transpired is a terrifying tale of deception.
He adopted a new identity while out on bail, attended college, got married, started a family, and obtained additional false IDs.
Using these identification documents, he was able to vote, pay taxes, provide biometric data for a national identity card, obtain a weapons license, and sell 37 acres of Singh’s property.
He persistently refused to give a DNA sample to match with the daughter of the landlord to establish their relationship as siblings. He even attempted to “kill” his former identity with a bogus death certificate in a move that shocked the court.
The story of the imposter is a sobering commentary on the slow-moving Indian judiciary and incompetent government officials; the country’s courts are currently handling close to 50 million cases, more than 180,000 of which have been waiting for more than 30 years.
Curiously, the man is listed in official documents as Kanhaiya Ji, an Indian honorific. A first and last name is a method of identifying that is generally accepted.
However, the judges who convicted the man of impersonation, defrauding, and conspiracy and sentenced him to seven years in prison claimed that his real name was Dayanand Gosain and that he was a native of a village in the Jamui area, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from his “adopted” home.
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