Considered as one of the biggest ever simultaneous chases in the US and India, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is hunting for an Indian fugitive, Bhadresh Kumar Patel, for the past four years.
Patel, who hails from Viramgam in Ahmedabad, figures in the FBI’s top 10 list of most wanted fugitives and carries an award of $100,000.
FBI considers Patel as a cold-blooded murderer and an ‘extremely dangerous’ criminal who killed his young wife at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Hanover, Maryland, in a most bizarre way.
Though the top 10 list of most wanted fugitives is constantly updated and changed, as Bhadresh Patel continues to run from one place to another, his name continues to figure in the latest FBI list (2019), which includes some of the most dreaded fugitives. Patel’s name first figured in the top 10 list in 2017.
Assisting the FBI in its investigation, County police detective Kally Harding said, “Patel’s wife Palak was young and the scene was very brutal… She was killed in a horrible way, that’s the kind of person (killer) we are dealing with.”
Palak (21) and Patel (then 24) were working in night shift in the Dunkin’ Donuts store. The CCTV footage retrieved from the store shows Bhadresh and Palak walking together towards the kitchen before disappearing behind the racks. Moments later, Patel reappears. He then shuts off the kitchen oven and walks out of the store, as if nothing had happened. His body language and facial impression seem to be very normal.
The FBI investigation into the brutal murder, which sent shock waves in Maryland, disclosed that the body of Palak, found hours later in the night of April 12, 2015, carried multiple stab wounds.
After brutally beating and stabbing Palak to death, Patel left the store and returned to his nearby apartment by foot. He then picked up some personal items and hired a cab to a hotel near an airport in Newark.
The taxi driver later reported that Patel was looking normal during the ride. CCTV footage revealed that Patel later checked into a hotel in Newark and was seen at the counter paying in cash for a room. He slept over the night and left the hotel in the morning.
Since then the FBI sleuths and their vast network of informers are trying hard to gather clues about Patel’s whereabouts. The hunt for Patel is on in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi.
Posters with different photographs of Patel have been printed in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and even in French and they have been circulated in different parts of the world where Patel could hide.
FBI’s agent in Delhi is also coordinating with different state police and law enforcing agencies to keep a tab on Patel’s known friends and relatives. According to a senior IPS officer of Delhi Police, all efforts would be made to trace the fugitive if leads are provided by the FBI.
On several occasions, Indian probe agencies have coordinated with the FBI and other foreign police organisations to nab fugitives. In 2004, Indian immigrant Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, wanted in the sensational murder of British teen Hannah Claire Foster (17), was arrested from Darjeeling on a tip-off by the the British agencies.