Mumbai: Goof-up delayed police, cost two children's lives in Ghatkopar
Due to a miscommunication when information was passed on by Mumbai police, Pune police took down a wrong registration number and ended up chasing the wrong car at the time when the Ghatkopar man was strangling his kids
Getting a single digit in a number plate wrong was a mistake that possibly cost two young children their lives on Tuesday. An ailing Chandrakant Mohite, 37, drove off with his children Gauravi and Pratik on Tuesday evening after telling his brother he wanted to end it all. The Pune police who were relayed the number by the Ghatkopar cops, apparently took it down wrong and as a result, did not locate Mohite until it was too late.
Mohite, a driver with a call centre, was suffering from a serious ailment for two years. He used to have regular fights with his wife Kavita over this, which made him worry about his children's future in the event he died of it. On the evening of October 8, around 7.30 pm, Mohite left his home at Jagrut Nagar with Gauravi, 11, and Pratik, 7. Mohite called his brother Suryakant around 10pm and told him he was going to end everything forever and hung up.
When Suryakant and his relatives were unable to connect to his phone after trying for an hour, they rushed to Ghatkopar police station. The police immediately made inquires and found that Mohite was a driver with a call centre, who informed the cops that their vehicle has a GPS, which could help trace the vehicle. The Ghatkopar cops started working on the information. "The cops relayed the number MH01BT8722 but the Pune cops heard it as MH-01-BT-7722. They then kept a watch and found the location of the vehicle as Warje, where it was standing for more than 30 minutes. They also did not spot the vehicle passing through the Talegaon toll plaza," said an officer on condition of anonymity.
"When the GPS location of the vehicle was traced, it showed that it was moving from Pune towards Satara via the National Highway," he added. Rajgad police station (under Satara police) in-charge, Inspector Dattatray Darade, received information from the Pune police at 12.40 am that the vehicle had entered Satara's jurisdiction. When Darade and their team rushed to Khed-Shivapur toll plaza, they called the Ghatkopar cops for confirmation and were only then told that the vehicle's last four digits were 8722 and not 7722.
"An employee at the toll plaza checked the CCTV footage and said that the correct vehicle had passed the toll plaza at 12.19 am, 21 minutes before they got the information. "The Pune cops were chasing the wrong vehicle for an hour-and-a-half. Had they got the correct number they could have stopped the vehicle and the children would have been alive today as the murder took place at Satara after the car had crossed the Khed-Shivapur toll plaza," another officer said. "First, the relatives came late to the police station and then the Pune (rural) police took down the wrong vehicle number. They should have confirmed it with the Ghatkopar cops," the officer added.
Mohite, after crossing Khed-Shivapur toll plaza, strangled his kids and dumped them in the car boot. He was caught by cops at the toll plaza around 3.15 am on Wednesday. When mid-day contacted Vivek Patil, Additional Superintendent (Pune Rural), he said, "I have overhead this discussion, but I was away for the past two days. I will gather more information about what happened to check whether there was some loophole from the side of Pune Rural cops."
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