Wife of a cloth merchant, waiting for her husband in a car parked on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway along with her daughter, was attacked and robbed of cash and valuables worth Rs 1.25 lakh in the early hours of Monday. The mother and daughter tried to fight off the four men who broke the window of the locked car and attacked them with rods and stones.
Reshu Amit Mali (34) of Gang Costella in Kharadi lodged a complaint at Wadgaon Maval police station informing police of the robbery near Taje Petrol pump.
Police said Reshu, her husband Amit and their 12-year-old daughter Vedika landed in Mumbai on Sunday after a vacation in Thailand and were driving home to Pune in their car that was parked at the home of Reshu’s brother Pankaj Sharma in Mumbai.
“They took their car and left Mumbai at 11.15 pm Sunday. Amit was driving. On reaching Kamshet at 2.40 am, Amit felt thirsty and stopped his car in front of Taje petrol pump. He crossed the road to get a water bottle from the Food Mall. Meanwhile, he asked his wife and daughter to sit in the car. They locked the vehicle from inside, waiting for Amit,” said Pankaj Sharma.
“Four robbers surrounded the car. They shouted at Reshu asking her to open the window. But she started honking. The robbers broke the window. Reshu tried to resist them, but robbers pulled her hair and attacked her with rod and stones. As Vedika tried to help Reshu, she was hit by robbers. Both sustained serious injuries. The desperadoes robbed the bag carrying cash, valuables and original passports,” added Reshu’s brother.
By the time her husband Amit rushed towards the car, the robbers had fled towards the railway line. Amit said the family was shocked by the incident.
Passers-by and petrol pump staff rushed to the site. Police were informed and within 15 minutes, police and an ambulance reached the spot. The injured were given first aid. Later, a first information report was registered with police. Assistant police inspector M S Nimbalkar, the investigation officer, said Amit is a cloth merchant living in Pune and operates his business from Pune and Gurgaon.
Husband questions E-way security
Amit Mali said the incident had shocked his family and raised questions on security on expressway and the effectiveness of police patrol on the route. His brother-in-law Pankaj Sharma highlighted the issue of safety of women on the expressway. The police said proper precautions should be taken on the expressway by those who drive at night.
Police inspector Vijay Jadhav of Wadgaon Maval police station said, “Mali stopped the car at an isolated spot on the expressway. He made his wife and daughter sit in the car in the midnight hours for getting water from the Food Mall on the other side of the road. There are boards appealing people to avoid stopping vehicles at isolated spots as a precaution. There are other safe places ahead where one can park cars and get water or food. We appeal citizens to follow certain precautions, particularly while driving on the expressway in the night.”
Jadhav said there was no CCTV camera around the crime scene. “Investigation is on. We hope to get some clues soon,” he added.
Sharma, however, said, “Though the place was isolated, it was near the petrol pump and Food Mall. There is continuous movement of vehicles. It was never expected such a robbery would happen at the spot. We hope police focus on better patrolling.”
“Police should arrest the robbers. What Reshu and Vedika faced should not happen to anyone else. Police should think about safety and security of women on the expressway,” he said.
Rs 18.75 lakh robbed from petrol pump employees
In a broad daylight heist, a gang of four robbed Rs 18.75 lakh from petrol pump employees who were taking the cash to deposit in a bank on Monday morning.
The incident took place at Empire Estate in Chinchwad a few metres from the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III), around 11.30 am.
According to police, Ashok Tekale, manager of Pingle Petrol Pump, and a staffer Shivkumar Saroj were going towards Bharat Bank on a two-wheeler with a handbag carrying Rs 1 lakh. The money was collected at the petrol pump on Saturday and Sunday.
Saroj was riding the two-wheeler, and Tekale held the cash bag. The robbers following them on another two-wheeler intercepted them on the road near Empire Estate. Meanwhile, two more accomplices reached the spot. One assaulted Takale with a rod. The robbers snatched the bag and fled.
Senior police officers including Additional Commissioner (crime) Shahji Solunkhe visited the crime scene. Police are looking for videos captured by CCTV cameras in shops around the crime scene. Police said they were unable to get any clues so far because most shops around the crime scene were closed on Monday.
This is the second similar incident in two weeks. Two unidentified men on a motorcycle had robbed Rs 20.5 lakh from a petrol pump staffer after throwing chilli powder into his eyes and attacking him with sharp weapons on the Pune-Satara road on June 2. An offence was registered with Rajgad police station.
Police said Maula Shaikh (28) was carrying cash collected on Saturday and Sunday at the petrol pump in Kelawade to deposit it in a bank in Katraj area.
They said Shaikh kept the cash in a bag and was going to another petrol pump in Khed Shivapur on a motorcycle.
He was supposed to collect the cash at this petrol pump and deposit all the money in a bank near Bharati Vidyapeeth in Katraj area. Police are probing whether the same gang was involved in the robberies.