NEARLY TWO months after a 30-year-old autorickshaw driver was allegedly robbed and murdered on Godbunder Road in Thane, two teenagers have been arrested by the crime branch of the Thane rural police in connection with the case. Rajendra Dharam Yadav was beaten to death and robbed of his phone and cash on October 17.
Police said the duo — Udhav Ukrande and Vikas Parade — who were arrested on Saturday, are drug addicts and initially planned to only rob Yadav. However, after Yadav put up a fight, they banged his head against a wall and seeing him bleed, fled from the spot.
Around 11 pm on October 17, Ukrande and Parade had hired an autorickshaw from Cherry hotel in Dongripada. “They asked the driver to drop them near Thakur mall on Mira Road. The two planned to rob the driver en route… accordingly, they asked made the rickshaw stop at a deserted location and attacked the driver. However, the driver retaliated… the two then bludgeon his head against a wall and fled with the cellphone and cash they found on the driver,” said a police officer.
Minutes later, local residents spotted Yadav near Mahajanwadi on Mira Road and rushed him to a government hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The Kashimira police, which were informed, instead of lodging a murder case, filed an accidental death report.
The crime branch, meanwhile, started a parallel probe and stumbled upon its first lead by tracking the stolen cellphone. “We started securitising its call detail record. We got its IMEI number and traced the user of the phone,” said an officer.
When questioned, the user revealed that he bought the phone for Rs 200 from Ukrande and Parade. “We got Ukrande’s Mira Road address and he was brought to the police station,” the officer said.
Following this, Ukrande was arrested and a case of murder and robbery was registered by the Kashimira police. During Ukrande’s questioning, Parade’s role surfaced and he was arrested as well. “They have confessed and claim to have stolen Rs 900 from the driver and his cell,” the officer said. The two have been handed over to the Kashimira police.