Infamous earlier for the lack of an efficient public transport system, Gurgaon has now also earned the notoriety of being unsafe for daily commuters who are offered a lift, then assaulted and robbed of their ATM cards and other valuables.
Almost six years ago, a highway cabbie gang had robbed and killed 25 people after offering them lifts.
After that, several cabbie gangs have sprung up over the years and continue to target gullible passengers especially on the Gurgaon Expressway where local transport is virtually non-existent using the same modus operandi.
Majority of the victims who prove easy preys are office-goers who don’t have a personal vehicle and have no other option but to take a lift from the call centre cabs.
What the city lacks is a well-planned and well-networked bus transport facility such as the DTC service available in neighbouring Delhi.
Though the Delhi Metro provided much relief, the absence of a regular and efficient feeder service is in a way defeating the purpose as commuters have to fall back on the cabs to get home.
The thin police presence, especially during evening and night hours, does not help either.
The cabbie gangs hit the roads between 8pm and 1am and target lone passengers waiting for public transport on various crossings such as Iffco Chowk, Rajiv Chowk and Shankar Chowk on the Gurgaon Expressway.
Because of easy availability and low fares, commuters find them a convenient way to travel.
The moment the passenger gets into the vehicle, the accused start thrashing him before snatching cash and other belongings.
In most cases, they take the victim’s debit cards, force the victim to reveal his PIN and drive to an ATM counter and withdraw money.
The injured passenger is then dumped at an isolated place.
Several gangs are said to be active in the city and are known by different names such as Bhoda Kala gang, Mewat gang and the recently busted IT professionals’ gang.
Easy money and lavish lifestyle draws the accused into crime.
The latest incident was reported on Saturday when a 32-year-old HR manager of a security agency was stabbed to death by a new cabbie gang in Pathreri village. Interestingly, IT professionals are part of this gang.
Parmanand Singh, the victim, had taken a lift and was killed by an engineer graduate. He was stabbed 28 times all over his body.
The main accused Prashant Tomar was arrested on Wednesday.
The Mewat gang was busted in January and is said to have robbed and tortured over 40 executives of various companies.
This gang had allegedly chewed the fingers of MNC executive Kamlesh Natani on December 22 last year.
Unlike the 2006 highway gang, the Mewat gang did not kill its victims.
Victim Rohit Singh, who works in the sales department of Future Group, recalls the horrific night of September 15.
“I was waiting for a cab at Iffco Chowk when a car pulled up before me. There were four passengers in it. Soon after I got in, they started beating me up. They took me to Rajiv Chowk and Hero Honda Chowk twice over. They snatched my laptop and mobile phone and thrashed me badly,” said Singh, adding that he was lucky enough to escape and report the matter to the police.
“We have busted all gangs who were involved in such crimes. We will not give them a free hand to wreak havoc on city streets,” said Maheshwar Dayal, DCP (Crime) Gurgaon.
Nearly 60 cases have come to light in the last one year but many stories go untold as victims fear for their lives and do not come forward to complain to the police.