Gang who looted, assaulted Ola and Uber drivers, held in Thane

Kapurbawdi police lay trap and arrest gang of four robbers, who had been assaulting the drivers in the dead of the night and making away in their vehicles with other valuables

Illustration/Uday Mohite

There have been quite a few cases of passengers of app-based aggregator cabs being targeted, but currently, it's the drivers who are at the receiving end.

In the last 15 days, the Kapurbawdi police in Thane West received four complaints where four drivers of Ola and Uber were assaulted and robbed by a gang of four. The incidents happened on Ghodbunder Road towards Balkum or Kapurbawdi.

As part of the investigation, late on Saturday, the Kapurbawdi police laid a trap and managed to arrest the gang.
Late-night scare

According to the police, the first victim was Vimlesh Kumar Gupta (22), a resident of Nalasopara and a driver with Ola. On April 1 around 1 am, he had a drop at Lodha building. After finishing it, he stopped at an eatery on a service road near Majiwada in Thane.

"Gupta said four people entered his vehicle and asked him to take them to Mumbra. When he refused, they assaulted him with a stone. Later, they gagged him and tied his hands, and made him sit in the back, where they continued to assault him. They then drove the car towards Igatpuri, where he was thrown out, and they fled in the vehicle with R5,000 cash, two mobile phones and a watch, all totalling worth R6.15 lakh. Gupta lodged a complaint on April 4," said a senior officer.

A case was registered for attempt to murder against four people under sections 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), 307 (attempt to murder), 397 (robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The freaky highway
In the second incident, on April 6, Hemant Maruti Bhosle (43), a resident of Mumbra and a driver with Uber, dropped a passenger off at Ghodbunder Road, and around 11.30 pm stopped the car on the Nashik-Thane highway near the Majiwada bridge to take a leak. "When he returned, he saw four people standing near the car. He was assaulted and robbed of a mobile phone, a watch, and Rs 3,700 cash," said an officer.

The next day, Uber driver Om Prakash Verma was robbed of valuables worth R31,500. On April 12, Ola driver and Wadala resident Ennul Hasangul Khan (23) was robbed on the same highway in a similar fashion. All three lodged complaints with the Kapurbawdi police on April 15.

Policespeak
Senior inspector BT Baravrkar said, "After speaking to the four victims, we noticed the pattern. So on April 15, we sent one of our men as a dummy Ola driver. As soon as the four approached him, we caught hold of them and arrested them. We suspect the four to be involved in more crimes. Further investigation is on."

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