The auto rickshaw driver, who had been absconding after setting a traffic policeman ablaze in Vasai on Wednesday night, was arrested in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
The accused identified as Mahendra Kevat has been charged with attempt to murder and interfering with duties of a public servant.
A police officer from the Manikpur police station in Vasai said, “After the incident, we had formed teams to track Kevat and he was picked up from Vasai at 4 am on Thursday while he was attempting to flee to his native place in Uttar Pradesh. We have charged him with attempt to murder and are going to produce him in court on Friday.”
Investigations in the case revealed Kevat’s history of crimes. According to the Manikpur police, Kevat, a habitual offender, had assaulted another traffic policeman in 2008. In the same year, he had also allegedly raped a minor girl near the Vasai fort after luring her with the offer of a free ride in his auto rickshaw.
“Both cases are pending in court and Kevat was out on bail,” said a police officer from Manikpur police station.
On Wednesday night at around 8 pm, Kevat doused petrol on traffic policeman Anil Aitivadekar, 42, and set him ablaze after the policeman fined him for not having proper documents of his auto rickshaw. He was also soliciting passengers without parking in the auto rickshaw stand.
“Aitivadekar was rushed to the Golden Park hospital by other auto rickshaw drivers at the stand. The policeman suffered 35% burn injuries and is being treated by burn specialists from Masina Hospital,” said Nagesh Lohar, deputy superintendent of police (Thane Rural Traffic).