The area where the car fell off a cliff near Saswad — 50 km from Pune — has no cellphone coverage and no vehicles use the road after 7 pm, so the cops could not have called for help even if they had survived the fall
Taking a shortcut through a deserted, hilly village road cost three policemen their lives near Saswad, about 50 km from Pune, on Saturday night.
Long fall: Locals help the police team pull the car out of the gorge
Their car fell off a cliff and officials said even if the cops had survived the fall, they could not have called for help as there is no cellphone coverage in the area and no vehicle uses the road, which is full of hairpin bends, post 7 pm. While the incident took place around 11.30 pm on Saturday, their car was discovered by the driver of a passing ST bus only around 8 am yesterday.
The policeman — Avinash Dhole (52), who was driving the car, Shashikant Raut (52) and Ulhas Mayekar (50) — were part of the security cover for an event attended by Shiv Sena MLA Vijay Bapu Shivtare at Devwadi on Saturday night. After the event got over around 11 pm, the cops’ car was part of the MLA’s convoy. After accompanying Shivtare for a certain distance, Dhole and the others left for Saswad police station, where they were posted.
“There are two roads to Saswad police station from that area. While both are hilly village roads, the one which the policemen chose is a shortcut and has hairpin bends that are very tough to navigate during the night. The road they took is called Saswad Supa Panavdi Marg Purandar and no vehicle uses it after 7 pm,” said a police officer.
The three policemen did not make it to the police station, which was 30 minutes away, and an ST bus using the road saw their car in a 300-foot gorge at 8 am yesterday.
“When we reached the spot, the car was mangled and we could retrieve the bodies only after the car’s roof was cut off with a welding machine,” said the officer.
“Even if any of the policemen in the car was alive, there was no chance he could have reached out for help because there is no network coverage in the area and no vehicle uses the road in the night. The shortcut proved fatal for them,” he added.