On the night of March 2, Mukesh Sahu, a property dealer, was returning home in his car after partying with friends from a mall on MG Road. Little did he know that he was being followed by three gunmen.
A dark stretch near the shopping malls in Gurgaon. (Arijit Sen/HT)
Near Times Tower, the trio took him hostage in his own car. They dumped him on the Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway, not before fleeing with his car, Rs. 30,000 and a mobile phone.
The incident took place on a busy stretch where police presence is comparatively high.
This was only one of the many such incidents that have taken place in Gurgaon after dark. After sunset, Gurgaon turns into a haven for criminals, mainly because of the lack of effective policing, abundance of liquor vends that operate 24x7, plenty of dark spots and the absence of public transport.
Even as Gurgaon works 24x7 through its IT-BPO firms and is home to nearly 250 Fortune500 companies, its darker side presents a very gloomy picture. The glitz of the city’s Mall Mile — which houses a dozen malls and nearly 50 pubs — turns into a dreary stretch after dusk.
Though the police have a small picket on the MG Road, many cases of drunken driving and crimes such as road rage, snatchings, molestation, etc., often take place. Despite a ban on running pubs and bars beyond midnight, 40 challans have been issued for serving liquor beyond the stipulated time.
“Most offenders are from MG Road, Phase-3 of the DLF City and the Golf Course Road. The cases have been sent to the head office in Panchkula,” said Aruna Singh, deputy excise and taxation commissioner.
Though nearly 15,000 auto-rickshaws and 500 buses, including inter-city and inter-state buses, ply in Gurgaon during the day, they are off the road at night.
Director general of Haryana transport department Arun Kumar said it was not currently viable to run buses at night but the department was concerned about the problems being faced by the commuters.
Joint commissioner of police Maheshwar Dayal said, ‘While the police keep vigil by ensuring that more PCR vans and bike riders patrol the streets, the city can be made more safe if there is a collaborated effort from all the authorities.”
“Better public transport, street-lighting, adherence to deadline on closure of bars, besides strict policing can make the city safer at night,” he said adding that the police had recently identified the dark stretches and written to the civic authorities to install streetlights there.
These stretches are roads around the Leisure Valley in Sector 29, Sector 56 Extension Road, link roads to Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway, Palam Vihar, Golf Course road, Sector 51 road near Mayfield Gardens, Artemis Road which connects to Wazirabad and Sector 57, Subhash Chowk to Sector 38 and others.
Nearly two lakh executives work in Gurgaon’s IT-BPO firms, of which 50,000 work in night shifts.
The employees are ferried in private cabs hired by the firms and their security is a matter of huge concern as several crime incidents involving BPO employees commuting at night have taken place in the past.
Worried over the present state of affairs, the Nasscom has been mulling the idea of launching parallel policing by bringing their own pool of Quick Response Team vehicles that which will be stationed at strategic locations across NCR.
Read: End of happy hours | 10 problems HT found | Law and order: what police should do