A 26-year-old auto rickshaw driver’s murder inside the vehicle in Malwani on Friday night has cops in a muddle. The mystery of the seemingly straightforward case deepened when the police realised that another murder had been committed in the same rickshaw in 2006, which is yet to be solved.
Now, both the cases are under investigation. What also stands out in the case, even if as an incidental detail, is that the rickshaw’s number is MH02SA7302; the last three digits -- 302 -- being the Indian Penal Code section dealing with crimes of murder.
Another parallel that has raised investigators’ eyebrows is that in both the killings, the victims were auto drivers who were working for one Jabbar Khan who owns the rickshaw. In both the cases, the auto drivers were murdered while on night shift.
An official from Malwani police station said, “Abraz Ansari, 26, a resident of Malad, was on his way to Pathadewadi, Malad when an unidentified accused attacked his neck with a sharp weapon. After assaulting him the accused fled the spot. We suspect that the miscreant used a chopper to assault Abraz. When the incident occurred there was no passenger inside the rickshaw.”
A pedestrian passing by on the road noticed Abraz lying unconscious in a pool of blood in the auto. He alerted the locals and the police, after which Abraz was rushed to hospital. But he was declared dead before admission.
In 2006, Shaukat Shah was murdered in the same rickshaw in Malwani itself. He was shot dead by an unknown accused. There are no leads in either of the cases.
“We have summoned many suspects for enquiry. We are also enquiring of Jabbar Khan, who is the owner of the auto rickshaw. There may be some connection between the two murders, or maybe it’s just a coincident. Our investigations are on,” the official said.