A driver and owner of a Mumbai-based travel agency, Anand Kadam (36), received a rude shock when a customer drove off with his car in the Pune. The customer, identified as Tushar Suryabhan Nagarkar of Mumbai, had hired the car to make a trip to Kolhapur. On Saturday night, he disappeared with the car after asking Kadam to wait inside a restaurant on JM Road.
Officials of the Deccan Gymkhana police station found the vehicle abandoned at a secluded spot in Hinjewadi on Monday morning, but the car tape was missing. A case was registered at the Deccan Gymkhana police station against Nagarkar. The police said that the accused was absconding since having abandoned the car at Phase I in Hinjewadi and that a manhunt had been launched for him.
Kadam said as Nagarkar had hired a car from him a couple of time in the past, he least expected such a turn of events. “Three months ago, Nagarkar had called me and told that he wanted to go to Jejuri with his family and expressed his desire to hire my cab, and I had then taken him and his wife to Jejuri and also dropped him back at Kalina in Mumbai,” Kadam said.
“He also paid me as per the kilometres recorded. After this trip, he had again called me up after some days and said that he wanted to take his wife and mother to Tirupati Balaji temple in Narayangaon in Pune district, and after this second trip also he paid me the fare.” Kadam said as Nagarkar had hired his car for two trips, he must have liked his service.
“On Friday he again called me up and told that he wanted to go to Kolhapur to bring his mother to Mumbai and asked me to pick him up near a chowk in Kalina on Saturday afternoon,” Kadam said. “On Saturday, I went to Kalina, where Nagarkar was already present. He told me that he did not have money with him and asked me to pay the toll fees and also fill fuel in the car, but I told him that I, too, did not have money for fuel and toll.
Then he promised to pay me the money in Pune and suggested that I take some passengers from Dadar and with that money cover the expense of fuel and toll.” Kadam said he took the advice and they went to Dadar station in Mumbai, where he got a passenger who wanted to go to the city and was ready to pay Rs 1,000 for it.
“We three, Tushar, the passenger and I, started our journey for Pune and in between, I halted at a food plaza on the Expressway and had my tiffin while Nagarkar just had tea as he had little money in his pocket,” he said. “We reached Pune in the evening and I first dropped the extra passenger in Camp, after which we came to JM Road.
Here Nagarkar told me that he had recently sold his car to a friend in Pune and that that person was coming to collect the car’s papers and would be giving him the money in return.” Kadam said they then went inside a restaurant and ordered some drinks as they waited for Nagarkar’s friend to turn up.
“While we were sipping on our drinks, Nagarkar told me that his friend would come in a moment and told me that he had kept the papers in the car and demanded the keys to bring these,” he said. “I had no idea of what was coming and handed over the keys without any hesitation.”
Nagarkar never returned, and even his mobile phone was switched off. “After waiting in the restaurant for 15 to 30 minutes, I went outside to check where he had gone and received a rude shock when I saw the car, which was parked outside, was not there,” Kadam said. “I immediately called up his cell and received another shock after finding the phone switched off. I went back to the restaurant and asked for the bill, which was Rs 850 for the drinks and snacks. I had only Rs 300 and did not even have my ATM card.”
He said he requested the restaurant owner to keep his wristwatch till he could come back to pay the bill in full on Sunday. “The owner agreed to let me go on humanitarian grounds after keeping my watch,” Kadam said. Kadam then approached the Deccan Gymkhana police station and lodged a complaint against Nagarkar.
“We traced his mobile number and found that it was in the name of one Suryabhan Nagarkar in Ghorpadi,” Police Inspector Manohar Joshi of the Deccan Gymkhana police station said. “After a team from the police station reached his residence, they met Suryabhan Nagarkar, who told the team that Tushar was his son but he had left home five years back and had not returned since then.”
The officer said the parents of the accused told them they had disowned their son. “To our astonishment, the parents showed us a news cutting of a Marathi daily from 2009, in which they had given a declaration in the paper that they did not have any relation with their son and if anybody was cheated by him, they (parents) would not be responsible for that,” Joshi said. He said the clutch of the recovered car was damaged because of rough driving.
“We have intensified the search and a team has been sent to Mumbai to trace the residence of the accused,” Joshi said.