Highway robberies are not recent neither are attacks on IT professionals who hire private cars from Wakad and other similar exit points of city. The murder of Infosys employee Vikram Poddar in March 2006 is a case in point.
Poddar,a resident of Monalisa Apartment in Malad,Mumbai,worked with the companys office in Hinjewadi and lived in Aundh. Investigators says he left office around 4.30 pm on March 14 and took a ride in a private car from Wakad.
Investigations later revealed that before reaching Mumbai,the driver offered him a cold drink laced with 30 sedative pills. Within minutes of consuming it,he lost consciousness. They robbed him of his gold chain,cash and credit cards. They threw the body of Poddar,who had died of drug overdose,into a ditch at Jategaon on the Pen-Panvel Road.
When Poddar did not reach Mumbai,his wife lodged a man missing report at Hinjewadi police station on March 15. A team led by then then inspector Rajendra Bhamre started a probe and found the body on March 17.
Meanwhile,Poddars wife noticed that things were being purchased using his credit card. She informed the police. Tracking the purchases,the probe reached a shopping mall in Vashi,from where some electronic appliances and SIM cards were bought by the accused.
The SIM cards helped the police locate the house of prime accused Victor Julius Manthera alias Victor Jhon Dias in Andheri. The police also recovered the car used in the crime and found sedatives from the vehicle. However,Victor had managed to escape before the police reached.
Probe revealed that Victor and his two aides,including his minor stepbrother,had drugged,killed and robbed Poddar. Meanwhile,the police got clues about Victors whereabouts from his aides girlfriend. They arrested him and detained his stepbrother,a minor,at Mauje Aaspur village in Dungarpur district of Rajasthan on March 27.
In August 2010,a Pune court held Victor guilty for Poddars murder and awarded him life imprisonment. It was after Poddars murder,the MSRTC had started a special bus stop at Hinjewadi.