Bhopal’s Tailor man who killed 33

During the day Adesh Khamra stitched clothes, hunched over his sewing machine in a small shop on the fringes of Bhopal. In the night, as he tossed in bed, consumed by visions of deadly crimes that he wanted to commit, he perhaps saw himself switching the needle for an axe, the thread into a hangman’s noose.

Stunned friends and relatives said it was unbelievable that they had lived next to a monster all this while. “He was a quiet man, well behaved. There is no way anyone will accept he has the blood of so many on his hands,” said a neighbor. Then the killings started sometime around 2010. The first one in Amravati, the other in Nashik. Soon, bodies started popping up everywhere in MP, some even in Maharashtra, UP and Bihar. There was one element that connected the murders. All the victims were truck drivers and their apprentices. But no one thought the quiet, affable tailor from Mandideep could have been behind the brutality.

Bhopal DIG Dharmendra Choudhary said Khamra, 48 now, could put up a disarming show of warmth and friendliness. He used this to befriend truckers and trap them. While his men looted the cargo, he would strangle the drivers with a length of rope. Occasionally, he used poison to silence his victims. The modus operandi was chillingly effective — ensnare truckers over drinks, drug them, murder them, strip them of every bit of clothing that could lead to their identification, and dump bodies under culverts or on hilly roads. This way, bodies would turn up in states ranging from MP to Maharashtra, UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, with police struggling to join the dots. “That is what makes this gang so deadly. We don’t know how many more cold cases will be traced back to them,” said an officer interrogating Khamra.

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