The First Trap - Ram & Shyam

6th July 1980.  I was ready to launch the operation, but the response from my subordinates was lukewarm. I however, obstinately insisted on the raid. We crossed hills, jungle, streams & a river in rain during the dark, to reach Tamsaiwadi in the early hours of the morning.  We searched all the huts under great mental pressure.  All efforts to locate Ram & Sham were in vain.  We returned downcast, walking back the 17 Kilometers.  Later I came to know that the two had been in the same village, hiding under a heap of paddy.  But none of the villagers had dared to tell us.  All our efforts had gone down the drain.

We raided Tamsai but failed to find the dacoits. The failure instigated me.  I had a staff of 31 officers and 600 constables – yet the two of them were hoodwinking us.  Were they so superior to us?

Determination - Childhood lesson I learnt was useful

In our childhood, us sons of farmers found no task beyond us.  If a farmer whose young bull got loose could not catch him, he would send for us.  We youngsters would chase it so hard that it would get totally exhausted and we would then seize it and hand it back to the owner.

A jackal once killed a sheep in our village. We youngsters kept vigil and when it turned up again, we immediately surrounded it. Pelting stones at it we had it on the run.  The injured jackal fell in a dry well and was stoned to death by the villagers. We then paraded the trophy of vengeance in the village amid much fanfare.

Being brought up in such environment, I was not prepared to accept that two criminals could have evaded the Thane and Raigad district police for 22 years! We had vehicles, rifles, wireless communication and what not.  They only had two guns. The farmer in me stirred.  I decided that come what may, I would capture the notorious two!