When she hailed the richskaw outside T2, he refused to go to Lokhandwala; but when she persisted, he drove in a fit of rage on a deserted road from Sahar to his neighbourhood in Kurla, paying no heed to her pleas to stop
A young woman was in for a harrowing experience late in the night on Thursday, when an auto rickshaw driver lost his cool after she asked him to ferry her to Andheri. Driving in a fit of rage, he drove her to his neighbourhood in Kurla instead of her home in Lokhandwala. The petrified woman called up the police and her fiance on the ride.
The 24-year-old woman took the auto rickshaw from outside Terminal 2 of Mumbai international airport on Thursday night. File pic for representation
Cops later arrested the driver. Around 11.30 pm on Thursday, the 24-year-old woman, a team leader in the airport lounge at Terminal T2 of Mumbai international airport, asked the auto rickshaw driver, identified as Ashraf Ibrahim Sheikh (auto rickshaw number MH-03-BN-6890), to take her to Lokhandwala in Andheri (West).
Sheikh initially refused to ply there but when the woman persisted, he agreed, or so it seemed. even before the woman could get into the vehicle properly, he allegedly started it and picked up speed.
Since he began driving angrily at high speed, the woman asked him to stop, but he paid her no heed. He then took a deserted internal road from Sahar towards Kurla.
The woman kept trying to get the driver to halt the vehicle but to no avail. She then called up the Mumbai police control room and related the incident. She also called up her fiance, Manan, for help.
Speaking to mid-day, Manan said, “I was terrified and rushed to her rescue on my bike. My fiancee got hurt while sitting in the auto because the driver intentionally started the vehicle before she could get in.
Instead of Lokhandwala, he took her to Shanti Nagar in Kurla. I reached there at 12.15 am and saw that she was crying. Around 20-25 people were abusing and threatening her in a manner most inhumane.”
Manan said his fiancee had tried reading the rickshaw number painted on the auto’s side while talking to the police, but the driver swerved the vehicle and nearly caused her to fall off.
The couple approached the Kurla police and narrated the ordeal, after which cops nabbed the driver and a case of kidnapping was registered against him. The police officials dropped the couple at Sahar police station, transferring the case there for further investigation.
“Following the girl’s statement, we have registered a case of kidnapping against the auto driver and arrested him,” said Prashant Marde, senior inspector at Sahar police station. The accused is a resident of Kurla. Police sources said the driver claims to have been abused by the woman, who he said forced him to accept her as a passenger.
Auto union says
Asked what precautions are being taken to avoid such incidents, Pramod Ghone, local auto union leader, blamed scrapped auto rickshaws running unchecked on the roads. “We keep informing the RTO, traffic and police authorities about scrapped vehicles that are still out on the road.
We have even sent a letter to Mahanagar Gas authorities, which contains the numbers of these rickshaws, so they won’t be able to fill gas at the centres. Areas like Bhandup, Deonar, Shivaji Nagar and Mulund have the highest number of illegal vehicles,” said Ghone.
Asked about this particular vehicle, Ghone said it is a new auto rickshaw since it is registered under the BN series of licence plates. He failed to give any further information.
Travel safe when alone
Before boarding an auto rickshaw or a taxi while travelling at odd hours, you can send the vehicle’s registration number to the Mumbai Police helpline, which can track the vehicle via GPS. Send the message for free to 9969777888