Thane: How a chase to catch small-time goons ended in the arrest of two criminals
After pulling the trigger at a former gang member, the shooters tried to crack open the left window of his car; they ran for their life when he got their gun and chased them
What started as a chase to catch two small-time goons on Ulhasnagar’s busiest street on Tuesday evening, ended in the arrest of two criminals who had threatened to shoot a robber-turned-developer. The developer — who is the complainant in the case — and the accused, were former members of the Chhota Rajan gang. The accused had approached the complainant to settle a dispute.
On Tuesday evening, Deepak Sapke is waiting in his car for his wife and daughter when the goons, Shankar and Suraj, approach his car. Illustration/Uday Mohite
The complainant, identified as Deepak Vaman Sapke (31) – who is a former Rajan aide – said in his police statement that he was waiting for his wife and his daughter around 5.30 pm on Tuesday evening, near Ulhasnagar railway station, when he was approached by the accused. Sapke is a resident of Barrage road in Badlapur (west) where he owns a construction firm.
Following their unsuccessful attempt at firing at Sapke, the duo tries to break the left window of Sapke’s car by banging Shankar’s revolver on it. The gun falls inside the car.
Speaking to mid-day, VC Dolas, senior police inspector, Vitthalwadi police station said, "In his statement he claimed that he was sitting in the driver’s seat waiting for his wife, when the two accused Shankar Suresh Vasita (30) and Suraj Abhang (20) approached the car from the left. Shankar pointed the revolver at the car, and this alerted Sapke. Shankar fired at him, but the bullet got stuck inside the revolver. When Shankar pointed the gun, Sapke took his seat back." Dolas said they have seized the revolver and found two cartridges, one of which was stuck inside.
Sapke grabs the revolver and runs behind Shankar and Suraj, who are now trying to flee.
After the bullet missed Sapke, Shankar and Suraj started banging on the left window of his car. "The left side of the front glass broke into pieces and the duo’s revolver fell inside the vehicle. Seeing that the revolver had fallen inside, Shankar and Suraj started running," said CN Khupse, police sub-inspector, Vitthalwadi police station.
"I was waiting for my wife as she was coming with my daughter and we were heading to Sanjeevni Hospital. Had I been approached five minutes later, my daughter and wife would have also been targeted in the incident," said Sapke.
Sapke is unable to catch the duo, and later informs Vithhalwadi police about the incident. The cops arrest the duo later in the night.
The chase begins
Khupse added, "Sapke, taking advantage of the situation, picked up the revolver and started running behind them. Meanwhile, the locals who saw them running also chased them. But the accused managed to flee."
During investigation, the cops found that the complainant and the accused Shankar both have criminal records.
"We found that both are notorious criminals who have been booked across Thane and Pune for jewellery theft and other crimes. Both are from the same gang. Since the last few months, they were having an argument over some issue that lead to a dispute among them. Later, they began defaming each other in public. Hence, Shankar decided to kill Sapke," added Dolas.
Cops launch operation
After the unsuccessful chase, Sapke contacted NT Kadam, senior police inspector, anti extortion cell and informed him about the incident.
He then approached the Vitthalwadi police station, where he registered a case under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and different sections of the arms act. After this, the Vithhalwadi police conducted a search operation and arrested Shankar and Suraj.
Khapse said, "Both of them were arrested on Tuesday and have confessed to the crime. They said they committed the crime to take revenge as they belonged to the same gang. They have been remanded in police custody till February 29."
Sapke's criminal past
Sapke used numerous aliases. He was allegedly a henchman in Chhota Rajan’s gang. He was a close aide of Mudaliar, an active member of Chhota Rajan gang, and a sharpshooter. In June 2007, the Pune Rural Police arrested him since he was behind many dacoities on jewellery shops in Thane and Pune. He had also reportedly taken supari of R5 lakh from Corporator Janardhan Mhatre to kill a rival, Vikas Mhatre.