Crime and Punishment: Here are 2012's top 6 stories
In 2012, six events that took place in the city made the headlines, grabbing the attention of national as well as international audiences. From an MSRTC driver going berserk to the worst ever E-way mishap and the JM Road low-intensity blasts, the city's fabric was shattered. But it was not all doom and gloom, as the year ended with justice for 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victims as accused Ajmal Qasab was hanged at Yerawada Central Jail
The year started with Santosh Mane, a MSRTC bus driver, killing eight people and injuring 32 others after he hijacked a bus from Swargate bus stand at 7.30 am and drove like a maniac for around 45 minutes bulldozing everything in his path.
Driving at high speeds, he drove through Golibar Maidan, near the military cantonment, East Street, Solapur Bazaar, back to Golibar Maidan, Swargate and Sarasbaug.
By the time the mayhem ended, some 30 to 40 damaged vehicles lay strewn over a 25-30 km stretch. In the days following the incident, serious questions were raised about the health, stress and working condition of MSRTC drivers.
Worst ever E-way mishap
Twenty-seven members of a wedding party were killed and 29 were injured when a speeding truck rammed into their stationary minibus near Khalapur toll plaza on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.
The marriage party was travelling from Ghatkopar to Yerawada when a flat tyre had forced them to stop. The vehicle parked at the service lane of the E-way, and was soon joined by another minibus and an SUV that were headed for the wedding too.
Many occupants had stepped out and were waiting between the parked vehicles when the tragedy took place.
Qateel’s killing in jail
Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Mohammed Qateel Siddiqui, who was lodged at Yerawada Jail, was strangulated by two local gangsters — Sharad Hiraman Mohol and his aide Alok Bhalerao — on the morning on June 8. At the time of death, Siddiqui was in judicial custody and was being tried for his alleged role in a conspiracy to plant a bomb outside Dagadusheth Ganpati located in the city.
He was also allegedly involved in the Bangalore Chinnaswamy stadium and Delhi Jama Masjid blasts. Yerawada police who are investigating the case later said that the murder was fallout of a sudden row inside the jail premise between Qateel and Mohol.
JM Road blasts
To avenge Qateel's murder, IM terror operatives planted six bombs on the busy JM Road, out of which four bombs exploded. Due to a flaw in the bomb design, all four blasts failed to make the desired impact. Only one person — Dayanand Patil, a tailor by profession — was injured in the low intensity blasts, as he had opened the bag containing the explosives.
ATS officials deem that there was a plan to carry out massive explosions. In October, the special cell of Delhi police arrested five people, including a resident from the city, who they claimed to be terror operatives of banned terror groups IM and LeT.
In November, the city was once again in the spotlight after the state government announced that the lone terrorist Ajmal Qasab, who was captured alive after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, was hanged to death at Yerawada Central Jail at 7.30 am on November 21 in a secret operation code named ‘Operation X’.
Qasab was brought to city two days before the execution, and only six top officials of the prison, including ADIG Meeran Borwankar, were in the know. After the execution, residents took to the streets distributing sweets and bursting crackers.
mass exodus of people from N-E
After some unknown people circulated doctored video clips of the Assam riots, as many as 15 students and working professionals hailing from the North East region were attacked by youths in the city. The attacks took place at Kondhwa, Hadapsar, Wanwadi and Pune cantonment area, and as a result of the attack fear spread among the community.
Thousands of students and working professionals made a beeline to the railway station to return to their homes. The mass exodus was cut short after local police, with the help of local leaders, infused confidence and assured safety to the community. Later, the police arrested several youths for circulating the doctored videos and assaulting N-E natives.