As many as 85 vehicles, mostly two wheelers from six different residential societies and a commercial building at Pune's Sinhagad road, were set on fire early Sunday morning.
The police have detained one suspect after CCTV footage showed that an unidentified person came on scooty and set vehicles on fire one after another after they unplugged the tube joining fuel tank.
According to police, the vehicles placed in the parking lot were set on fire between 3:30 am and 4:30 am when the residents were asleep. “We have procured CCTC footage from the two cameras which shows that an unidentified person came on scooty and unplugged the fuel tank tube. He then set ablaze vehicles and fled,” said Balwant Kashid, police inspector, Sinhagad station.
According to Kashid, a suspect has been detained and is being interrogated although the motive behing the crime is unclear. Among the vehicles set on fire include 77 two-wheelers, eight four-wheelers and seven bicycles. An entire fleet of 29 two-wheelers from the local unit of Domino's were also burnt down.
Residents from whose localities vehicles were burnt recalled the incident saying minutes of delay for fire tenders to arrive could have cost them their lives.
“We saw fire in the parking lot of neighboring building and began climbing down. As we reached parking lot of our building, we saw our vehicles being burnt with the smoke intruding inside the building through the duct,” said 29-year-old Prashant Badhe. Most vehicles set ablaze were completely damaged.
The incident has rattled the city police, who are now investigating the intention behind such a large number of vehicles being torched. The minister for home Ram Shinde has ordered a detailed inquiry to find out the culprits.
“This is the third incident of its kind where vehicles were set on fire. I have asked the police commissioner to thoroughly investigate the incident and nab the miscreants,” said Shinde.
In the previous instances involving relatively lesson number of vehicles at Dandekar bridge and Dhankawadi area, the police suspected role of local gangs, which carried out the act to establish their supremacy.