With a moustache styled like actor Suriya’s in ‘Singham’, a Royal Enfield Bullet and a khaki uniform, there was no stopping 25-year-old V. Bala Manikandan.
The software engineer roamed the northern neighbourhoods of Perambur, Sembium, Vyasarpadi and Thiru-Vi-Ka Nagar for close to a year, claiming he was the newly-appointed deputy commissioner of police, for the locality.
He earned the respect of the locals and was the pride of the neighbourhood, but his luck ended on Wednesday, when a police team led by the actual deputy commissioner of police, Pulianthope, R. Sudhakar, arrested him from his home in Vetri Nagar, Kolathur, based on a complaint from K. Mani, a resident of Periyar Nagar.
According to police, Bala Manikandan is the only son a Southern Railway employee, Manikandan. He had always dreamt of becoming an IPS officer, but had never attempted to clear the civil services exams. Instead, in an attempt to impress girls in the neighbourhood and shore up his self-esteem, he pretended to be an IPS trainee officer who had been posted to the crime-infested neighbourhood to crack down on several notorious gangs.
Police said that he would go to each locality, introduce himself as an officer and tell the locals he had been posted to the violence-prone area for exposure and training. Once the locals believed him and came to know him, he would move on to a new area. The first few areas he frequented were Pattaravakkam, Korattur and Sembium.
“In all the areas he used to frequent, he would go wearing a uniform and would be on his Bullet. His attire, physical attributes and mannerisms led locals to believe him,” said Rajesh Khanna, inspector (law & order), Peravallur police.
However, Bala was caught when the trainer at a gym he used to frequent in Periyar Nagar, Peravallur, became suspicious of his claims and informed the police. Mani, the trainer, told a beat policeman in the area that one of his customers was a police officer.
When the constable asked for details about Manikandan at the local police stations, he found out there was no such officer.
“He was always in uniform even while working out at the gym. He joined in March this year. But he spoke and behaved like a local and not like an officer. So I got suspicious and informed the police,” said Mani. R. Vijayaraghavan, assistant commissioner of police, Sembium, said they had seized uniforms, boots and the Bullet from Bala’s home and filed cases under section 416 (impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC. Bala was sent to Puzhal prison.