It took Indian police more than 30 years to arrest a man wanted in connection with an alleged robbery and murder case. Om Prakash, who was on the list of "most wanted criminals" in the Indian state of Haryana, had been living comfortably in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. The 63-year-old, frail-looking man was arrested from his house in Ghaziabad earlier this week.

It was not like Prakash put in too much effort to hide from the police. During this time, he appeared in at least 28 low-budget local films. One such short film, "Takrav," has more than 7 million views on YouTube.

Prakash, who used to work as a truck driver for the Signal Corps of the Indian army, was dismissed in 1988 for being absent from duty for a period of four years.

He had been involved in several criminal activities, including theft and alleged murder. He was wanted in connection with a 1992 case wherein a man was robbed and stabbed to death. Prakash somehow managed to escape, but his accomplice was arrested and spent at least 7 years in prison for the crime.

He took on various jobs during his time in hiding, including selling video cassette recorders (VCRs) and driving trucks. He eventually "found his calling" and started acting in films in 2007.

The man acquired a new identity, married a local woman and raised three children with her. The family, however, had no inkling of his criminal past.

His file was gathering dust at a police station in Haryana when in 2020, the state formed a Special Task Force to look into cases of organised crime and those involving crossing state boundaries. It was then that his file was reopened and he was declared a "most wanted" criminal of Haryana.

The police even announced a reward of 25,000 rupees ($315; £261) for information about his whereabouts. The investigators went to his hometown of Naraina in Haryana to ask locals if they knew anything.

"The operation was carried out with utmost secrecy because we were worried that one false move and he'd run away for another 30 years," Sub-Inspector Vivek Kumar of Haryana's Special Task Force (STF) told the BBC.

The team found a mobile number registered in Prakash's name and finally managed to trace his new address. However, the task for the police has not finished yet. They will now have to prove in court that they have arrested the right man.

Since the crime took place 30 years ago, the prosecution will have to come up with quality evidence to build a case against Prakash.

Crime Scene
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON