Vasai hit-and-run case: Cabbie nabbed, says he slept at wheel after 24-hour shift
The accused, who is associated with a major aggregator, blames exhaustion for December 21 incident, where he ran over a Vasai couple; wife recovering, man stable but serious
The Palghar district police on Wednesday arrested the cab driver who ran a couple over in Vasai on December 21, flinging the man in the air and running him over twice, before speeding away. Police sources said Santosh Pandey alias Triveniprasad, 40, the driver, had fled to his village in Uttar Pradesh on the day of the accident, and returned recently. They said he claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel after 24 hours of work and didn't realise he had run someone over.
The accused confessed to his crime during the investigation. "He said after 24 hours of constant work, he fell asleep while driving. He woke up when he rammed the car and did not know what had happened. He didn't realise that he had hit someone and got scared and tried to flee," said a police official.
The broken number plate found at the accident spot based on which police started investigations; (left) mid-day's report on the accident on December 22
The couple, Sikandar Ali Meer, 44, an architect, and his wife Salma, 35, a former teacher, were on their way home from a morning walk when the car dashed them. Both were seriously injured. Sikander was hurled nearly eight feet into the air, while his wife fell to the side. In panic, while trying to escape, the driver ploughed twice into Sikandar.
The police found a broken yellow coloured number plate near the spot with '5803' on it. The Swift Desire car was clearly seen in the CCTV near the spot. "We traced the car number, it was MH-04-DG 5803. The owner of the car was a Thane resident and he had rented it for Rs 10,000 per month to a person staying in Nalasopara. We reached his house. We found the accused had gone to his native village on the day of the accident," said a police official. When a police team went to his native place, they learnt the accused had returned to Palghar. "We caught him in the wee hours of Wednesday at his residence in Nagindaspada, Nalasopara," the official added.
Sikandar and Salma in happier times
The driver is an employee of Uber. Despite repeated attempts to contact Uber officials, there was no response. "A special team had been formed by the Superintendent of Police (SP) Palghar under the supervision of the additional SP, SDPO and guidance of Senior Inspector Tulinj police station, Daniel Ben, and API Archana Dusane. After 12 days of hard work we caught the accused," said the investigating officer, Inspector Kiran Kabadi. Pandey was produced before the Vasai court and remanded in two days police custody, he added.
Sikandar is on bed rest
Victim's brother says
"An official called me in the afternoon and informed us that they had caught the accused. We asked the police why he did this, but they said nothing. We have the right to know whether it was an accident or a planned attack," said Sikandar's elder brother, Ghazanfar Ali Meer, 58.
Salma is fine now. File pics
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