Two autorickshaw drivers were nabbed early on Wednesday for allegedly molesting and assaulting a 23-year-old woman last week.
The duo is believed to have confessed to the crime and said that they had plotted it all and decided to rob any female passenger who would sit in Ghogre’s vehicle. While Ghogre, a resident of Dynaneshwar Nagar in Wagle Estate, was in the driver’s seat, Lokhande, a resident of Louis Wadi, pretended to be just another passenger occupying a seat in the share auto.
As they said their motive was to rob the passenger of her gold chain and other valuables as Lokhande had defaulted on the EMI for his auto loan. Ghogre, too, was in need of money as the two were regular drinkers and blew most of their earnings on alcohol.
The officers are questioning them to find out why did they assault the woman passenger and then push her out of the speeding auto,” said an officer.
The first breakthrough in the case was a tip-off. “DCP D S Swamy got a tip-off that one Santosh Lokhande, an autorickshaw driver, had been admitted to Thane civil hospital for treatment and was about to get discharged. The team began to gather information on him and learned that he was reported missing by his wife at Wagle Estate police station the same day the woman was assaulted. We zeroed in on him and after basic questioning took him into custody in the early hours of Wednesday,” said Pandey.
Inquiries revealed that Lokhande was under treatment at the civil hospital for a liver-related ailment caused by heavy drinking and that he had been admitted to the hospital by Ghogre. “We questioned Lokhande and he soon opened up and informed us about his aide, Ghogre, too. We picked him up later. The two planned to flee the city for a few days as there was intense street patrolling and inquiries by the police. However, before they could escape, we arrested Lokhande at 3.15am on Wednesday and then his aide.”
The duo—Santosh Lokhande (38) and Lahu Ghogre (49) who have faced arrests in the past—were traced by Thane police following amassive search and confirmation of their identities by the survivor. Madhukar Pandey, joint commissioner of police, announced that the case, which had sent shockwaves in Thane, has been cracked.