'Who robbed Rs 5 lakh from this mangled car?'

Family of Ravindra Lad, who died in Sunday's highway accident in Raigad, says they haven't been returned the money he was carrying to inaugurate his hotel in Malvan; kin suspect locals, police of usurping the cash

Kin of Mumbaikar Ravindra Lad (42), who was killed in an accident along with four of his friends in the early hours of Sunday on the Mumbai-Goa Expressway (NH-17) in Raigad, has alleged that Rs 5 lakh and a gold chain that Lad was carrying with him has been missing since the accident.

The family suspects that either the locals have taken it, or the police have not bothered to return it after finding it. However, cops claimed that they have returned Rs 27,000 to one of the families.

Tragic end: The Indica in which Mulund resident Ravindra Lad (42) was travelling with four of his friends when an ST bus rammed it from the front. Pics/siddharth dhadve

Around 2.30 am on Sunday, a state transport bus going from Dapoli to Mumbai crashed with an Indica that was going from Mumbai to Malvan near Wadkhal Naka, Pen, Raigad district. The Indica was overtaking a truck when the bus, which was going in the opposite direction, dragged the Indica for around 100 metres. The police have arrested the driver of the bus Ashish Darkhe for rash and negligent driving.

Other than Lad, his companions Dinesh Patil (26), Suresh Patil (29), Anil Sawant (28), and Ravindra Shivalkar (35), all Mumbaikars, died in the mishap.

Gold chain missing
"Lad used to work with the Navghar Octroi naka and was going to his village Golvan Katta in Malvan where he had purchased a hotel which he was planning to inaugurate on January 26," said Narayan Sakaram Shinde, Lad's childhood friend, on behalf of his family, which is in mourning. "He had taken Rs 1 lakh from his wife, Asmita, around Rs 4 lakh from a friend, because he needed the money for the inauguration," said Shinde.

The family has alleged they haven't got the cash back and were only handed one ring and two mobile phones along with the body. "A gold chain and Rs 5 lakh has been missing. We suspect somebody, either from the public or the police, has picked it up," said Shinde.

Cops say
For their part, the police say that they haven't received any complaint from the family. "We found Rs 27,000 from Shivalkar's pockets and have returned it to his family. The accident was so brutal that the bodies were torn apart; there was blood all around. If we get a complaint, we will look into the matter," said Inspector Prateek Teedar, Wadkhal police station in Raigad District.

While Dinesh and Suresh worked as drivers, Shivalkar was associated with the MNS, and Sawant used to work in the Mazgaon docks.

Lad, Dinesh Suresh are residents of Hanuman Pada in Mulund, Shivalkar is a resident of Bhandup, and Sawant of Kalachowkie. All five were the sole breadwinners in their families. "Lad has a 12-year-old daughter, Dinesh has a daughter and a son, and Suresh is yet to be married," said a person known to them.

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