Pune: The past week has been especially unfortunate for techies in the city. While one techie got murdered, two other cases of murder and robbery were reported in the city of techies. Besides this, incidents of murders, robbery, car thefts, intimidation at knife point especially in areas where techies live are on the increase.
Even a week after 34-year-old Varun Sethi’s murder on May 28, the case is yet to be cracked. Apart from murders, in the past, techies working in Hinjewadi IT parks have been targetted by robbers too. According to the Hinjewadi police, six techies were robbed in a span of six month at knife point, one car was stolen by a gang of six unidentified persons and a techie who took a lift in a cab enroute to Mumbai from three unidentified persons was thrashed and robbed.
Time-zone and modus operandi to watch out
Most of the incident took place in Thergaon, Walekar wadi area in Chinchwad, Wakad bridge bus stop, Bhumkar chowk, Bandal estate in Bhavdhan and also on the isolated areas in Hinjewadi Phase one, two and third road leading to highway.
Smita Patil Assistant commissioner of police (Chaturshrungi) said, “Most of these incidents takes places in fringe areas where there is no street lights and less people. They occur at night from 9 pm to midnight. Most incidens happen on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and in the first weeks and last week of the month.”
Such robbers hide in isolated areas behind tree bushes and if they notice a person coming alone on bike or on foot they hit them with an iron rod or stick from behind and robbed them. “Such persons mostly operate in gangs. If a person asks them a address, one of them will claim to be on his way to the same destination. He will then direct the unsuspecting man to an isolated area claiming it to be a short-cut. Another set of two persons will come on motorbike and rob the man,” said Patil.
On Friday night most of the techies take lift from unknown vehicles and such persons rob them, added the police.
Hinjewadi techies demand better patrolling
Techie Akhil Rastogi, from Wakad said his friend had been robbed at knifepoint. “Most techies working in IT companies come form other cities and are not aware. In such cases, the companies must come forward and help such person by locating housing facilities in the area. In Hinjewadi, during late night there is less patrolling. The police must make arrangement of signs or precautionary board to alert citizens so that this will help us to be more vigilant while using such roads.”
Another techie Jayesh Dave who lives in Pimpale Saudagar said he is scared to use such roads as one never knows if he would be the next target. “I do see police and Quick Response team patrolling in such areas but the time duration is fixed and there are only three vans moving in our area which is not sufficient. I demand constant patrolling. In the past too, we have heard about such incident taking places. To overcome this issue, there should be an emergency number for immediate help and such culprits must also be zero-in.”
What cops and industry have done for safety
Suresh Bhosale, inspector in-charge of Hinjewadi police station said, “Techies are soft targets as robbers are aware that techies carry laptops, smart phones, cash and gold ornaments. Every month we are approaching IT companies in Hinjewadi and holding interactive sessions. Apart from avoiding such roads, we have asked the techies not to carry laptops with them and keep police control number 100 on emergency dial on their mobile phones to alert us.”
Anil Patwardhan, president of Hinjewadi Industries Association (HIA) said, “After the murder of Sethi, we have come up with more security and safety arrangements. We met Joint Commissioner of police (Law and order) Sanjay Kumar and under his guidance we have reviewed our Joint Security Task Force (JSTF) patrolling vans and they are patrolling round the clock.”