Two held for trying to extort ` 2 lakh from hotelier Major roads turn into death traps
ACCIDENTS INCREASE 922 road accidents took place in the city last year as opposed to 828 accidents in 2014
Two people from Panvel who allegedly tried to extort Rs2 lakh from a hotelier, was arrested by the Panvel city police on Thursday.
According to the police, the accused Nilesh Sonawane, 37, Parag Ballar, 36, and one more person met hotelier Sachin Sachdev, 38, a few days ago and demanded Rs2 lakh from him.
While Ballar is a political activist, Sonawane and the other person are journalists with local media houses. They allegedly threatened Sachdev that they would file a fake atrocity case against him if he did not pay the money soon.
After Sachdev complained to the anti- extortion cell, the police laid a trap. “We asked the complainant to tell the accused that he would pay the money in two instalments. According to our instructions, he called them to come and collect the first instalment of Rs1 lakh on Thursday. We laid a trap and arrested Sonawane and Ballar red-handed,” said a police officer from the anti-extortion cell.
The third accused did not come to collect the money and the police are yet to arrest him.
“We have seized a four-wheeler in which the culprits used to come to the spot. We are trying to identify the car owner with help of RTO officials,” he said.
The police have booked the accused under sections 364a, 384, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. They were produced before the judicial court on Friday.
When asked if the accused had extorted money from other people, another police officer said: “We are investigating the case. So far, we have not found any criminal record against them.”
Even as Navi Mumbai traffic department claims to have taken all possible steps for reducing the number of road accidents in the city, the statistics revealed by them tell a different story.
As many as 922 road accidents took place in the city last year as opposed to 828 accidents in 2014. Similarly, a total of 321 people lost their lives in 303 accidents last year against 297 deaths in 309 accidents in 2014.
When it comes to road accidents, three major roads in the satellite city – Thane- Belapur Road, Palm Beach Road and Sion- Panvel highway — have turned into virtual death traps.
As many as 32 people died in 30 accidents on Thane-Belapur Road last year as opposed to 22 deaths in 14 accidents in 2014. Around 150 IT parks and other offices have come up in the MIDC area of Navi Mumbai along this road in the past seven to eight years.
According to the traffic officers, a majority of the people who come to work there, illegally cross the road.
An official from Rabale traffic unit said, “More than 10,000 people come to the work in these offices from various places of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane regularly. They alight from the trains at the stations on the other side and then cross the busy road to reach their offices.”
The number of fatalities on Palm Beach Road too increased to 7 last year from 5 in 2014. The police said that most of the accidents on this road take place at night when several motorists jump the traffic signals.
Sion- Panvel highway saw fewer accidents last years as compared to 2014.
However, there are still much to do for safety of the commuters.
As many as 50 people died on the road in 2015 as opposed to 79 deaths registered in 2014.
“More people died on this road in 2013 and 2014 because of the road construction. With the completion of the construction work, the number of accidents decreased. However, 50 deaths in a year is a serious matter. The stretch between Vashi toll naka to Kalamboli circle is a danger- ous stretch on this road,” said another traffic official.
Arvind Salve, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said, “We are taking several initiatives for reducing the number of road accidents in the city. First, we are conducting a survey on the city roads and suggesting Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Cidco and Panvel Municipal Council to construct foot overbridges, subways among other. We are getting good responses from them.”
“Second, we have identified several accident- prone areas all arterial roads and deployed more officers at those junctions. Equipped with speed guns our officer are conducting special drives and penalising those who are violating norms. It has proved effective,” he said.
“The most important step is to create awareness among the people. If motorists are not conscious, no one can reform them. We keep making efforts to educate them by conducting seminars, workshops, demonstrations and rallies,” he added.