Armed man assaults, abducts woman after her car hits him by mistake. A team of 50 cops have been combing the lanes of Vasai for accused causing panic among local residents
Over 50 officers and men from several police stations in the Vasai-Virar belt are searching for a man who is suspected to have kidnapped a woman at gunpoint after her car accidentally hit him.
The kidnapper made the victims drive around Gokul Township for an hour and a half, before asking Shilpa Berma to take the car (below) to Dongarpada, 3 km away. Pic/Hanif Patel
The incident happened at 2.30 pm on Wednesday. At the time of going to press, the police teams had cordoned off the stretch between Agashi and Dongarpada and were still combing the area.
The missing woman has been identified as Shilpa Berma (40). The identity of the alleged kidnapper is not known. Berma’s friend of 20 years Nupurkumari Shrivastava (50) is the only eyewitness. The police have taken Shrivastava’s statement, and the entire combing operation is based on the information she has given them.
“There are several teams working on the case to trace the accused,” said Sandeep Shivale, Assistant Police Inspector from Agashi police station in Arnala. “The local Crime Branch is also making parallel investigations. Our senior officers are being assisted by personnel from other police stations.”
Shrivastava, a resident of Global City in Arnala, said her husband and Berma’s husband were colleagues and that the two couples know each other for over 20 years. Shrivastava told the police she spent Tuesday night at Berma’s home and the two were returning to Global City on Wednesday afternoon when the incident happened. According to her statement, Berma accidentally hit a pedestrian just before reaching Gokul City.
“The man started banging our bonnet and windscreen, asking us to unlock the door,” Shrivastava said in her statement. “As we unlocked the doors, he entered the car and sat behind Berma, who was driving the car. He took out a pistol and ordered us to drive.”
According to Shrivastava’s statement, the man made them drive around Gokul Township for an hour and a half, before asking Berma to take the car to Dongarpada, 3 km away.
“While heading towards Dongarpada, my friend accidentally hit a pole, due to which our car tyre got punctured,” Shrivastava said in her statement. “We tried to get off the car and escape, but he came after us and grabbed Shilpa by her hand. As I tried to follow them, he pointed the gun at me and threatened to kill me. He took away my bag and purse and started dragging her in the opposite direction.”
Shrivastava said she tried to follow them again, but the man shoved Berma into a passing auto rickshaw after threatening the auto driver also at gunpoint. Shrivastava said she rushed to the nearest police chowkie and narrated the sequence.
A majority of the police force from the Vasai belt is on the streets, which has led to panic in the area.
Teams comprising 20 beat marshals and over a dozen police inspectors are part of the massive hunt.
As of now, the police have booked the unidentified man under Section 364 (Kidnapping or abducting with aim of murdering a person), 394 (Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, along with the relevant sections of the Arms Act.
“The beat marshals who are well-versed with the area have been roped in for the search,” said Additional SP, Palghar, Srikrishna Kokate. “The teams have launched a major combing operation. We have also received a concrete tip-off about the last seen location of the accused and we will nail him very soon.”
A team of 50 police officers has been combing the lanes of Vasai for the accused