The robbing days of two members of a gang that looted employees of IT companies in the city are over. Yesterday, the Hinjewadi police managed to arrest the duo, who were a part of a five-member gang that is responsible for a spate of robberies in the Hinjewadi and Wakad area along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
According to the police, the suspects have been identified as Khalid Ahmed Shaikh (32), a resident of Kanheri Khandala in Satara district and Nitant Girish Pawar (23) from Navi Sangvi area of Pune.
Their other three accomplices, including one Salim Papa Shaikh from Pimple Gurav area of the city, are still absconding. All the suspects have a past criminal record, said the police, who have also seized two cars and mobile phones used by the accused while committing the robberies.
S P Bhosale, police inspector of Hinjewadi police station, said, “So far, the arrested men have confessed to their involvement in two cases of robbing an IT engineer and a hotel manager. We suspect that they might have committed similar offences in other police stations’ jurisdictions as well.”
The IT crowd
Shaikh and Pawar worked with IT companies as drivers. They would often offer lifts to men standing on the road leading to Mumbai.
These men would generally be waiting for a bus or taxi to take them to Mumbai. After asking them to display their identity cards, they would take them on as passengers.
“Once the men sat in their car, their accomplices, who used to sit behind as passengers, would start beating them up and threaten commuters with sharp weapons.”
“After taking away all their cash, gold and silver valuables, the accused used to drop the commuter mid-way at an isolated location,” said Bhosale.
He further revealed that the duo had confessed to particularly targeting IT professionals in Hinjewadi and Wakad areas, as these people would generally have laptops, cash, expensive mobile phones and other valuables.
“We appeal to people, especially to IT professionals, to not display their ID cards while travelling,” added Bhosale.
The 35-km long stretch of Katraj-Dehu Road bypass, which connects to the Pune-Mumbai Expressway via Bavdhan, Wakad and Hinjewadi, has been a hotspot of crimes like robberies in the past six months.
>> Hotel manager Sushant Jagdale (23) was robbed off his cell phone, cash and wristwatch – all worth R15 thousand – near the Wakad octroi post in April.
>> In May, Kamalkishor Malavi (32) was looted of his cash, gold ring and cell phones by the accused while he was waiting for a bus to Mumbai. He was later dumped on the Ravet-Aundh road after the robbers took away his passport, laptop, cash and gold ornaments.