Cops suspect role of auto driver in kidnap, robbery of CoEP student

Jul 10, 2012, 08:17 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar

Based on their investigations, the Deccan Gymkhana police officials suspect the bundle of notes, which Nikhil Gatagat (20), a student of College of Engineering, took out from his bag to pay for the auto fare, might have fuelled the robbery.

Nikhil was sedated, kidnapped, looted of Rs 60,000 in cash and later dumped into the Vashi creek by four unidentified persons on Saturday. The police officials said the auto driver had seen the bundle of notes, when Nikhil took it out to pay the fare, after reaching the entrance of Firodia Hostel in Deccan Gymkhana on Saturday morning. 

Robbed and dumped: Nikhil Gatagat after his rescue. File Pic

“Nikhil, who is a third year student of Electronic and Telecommunication Dept of COEP, had come to Swargate on Saturday morning from his hometown Latur. After getting down from the bus, he approached an autorickshaw, which was parked near Natraj Hotel in Swargate,” ACP (Zone I) Kalyan Lawange said.

He said that when Nikhil boarded the auto, there was already a passenger sitting inside the vehicle. “After reaching the hostel gate, Nikhil took out a heavy bundle of notes from his backpack, and paid the auto driver,” said Lawange. When Nikhil was handing over the fare to the auto driver, the person who was already inside the vehicle, took out a knife, and threatened to kill him. Later, the auto driver too came out of the vehicle and allegedly subdued Nikhil using chloroform.

“After he was administered chloroform, Nikhil lost consciousness, and could not remember anything afterwards. He told us that he was unconscious for the rest of the day,” Lawange said. “We suspect that after sedating him, the duo must have called their accomplices, bundled him in a car, and took him to Vashi. They allegedly dumped him in Vashi creek on Saturday evening.”

Senior Police Inspector of Deccan Gymkhana police station, Manohar Joshi, said the unidentified accused have been booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) 363 (kidnapping), 392 (theft) and 34 (common intention). “Team have been formed to nab the culprits,” Joshi said.

Yesterday morning a team of Deccan Gymkhana police officials, including Joshi, took Nikhil to the spot on the Vashi Bridge form where he was allegedly thrown into the creek and later rescued by local fishermen. “As the victim is not able to give description of the suspects, it is very difficult for police to nab them,” Joshi said.  The officials are also questioning the auto drivers at the Sawrgate bus stand from where Nikhil had taken the autorickshaw on Saturday morning. 

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