When this passenger kept his taxi waiting, Borivali-based cabbie Chandrakant Redekar (45) initially thought it only meant an extra few bucks.
However, what he didn’t know on Monday morning is he would end up saving a life.
Redekar’s quick thinking managed to save the life of a 17-year-old college student who would have been attacked by a boy with a chopper had this taxi driver not acted in time.
Redekar picked up 23-year-old Kunal Vaskani from a lodge near Dahisar check naka and took him to a building in Borivali. Vaskani asked Redekar to halt the cab and said he was waiting for a girl.
During a casual conversation, Redekar learnt that Vaskani was waiting for a girl studying in Mithibai college, Vile Parle, and would be taking her to Goa.
However, during conversation, Redekar happened to spot a chopper in Vaskani’s bag. Instinctively suspecting that the girl Vaskani was waiting for was in danger, Redekar then got down the taxi on some pretext and telephoned a local Shiv Sainik he knew. “I found his behaviour fishy,” said Redekar later.
A group of 12-15 Sainiks then quietly went to the building outside which the taxi was waiting, police sources said. They searched for the girl and informed her parents about Vaskani’s likely intentions.
“We asked her parents to allow the girl to go out as usual and we waited outside the building,” said Sunil Salkhe, a Shiv Sainik who was part of the mob.
The girl stepped out of the building as planned and Vaskani started following her. “When he took out his chopper to assault her, we caught him and thrashed him there,” said Mahesh Dalvi, another Sainik. Vaskani was later handed over to the local police.
“The accused has been arrested under the possession of arms act and further interrogation is on,” said Deputy Commissioner of police, Sanjay Banerjee.
The Borivli police, during interrogation, learnt that Vaskani is the first cousin of the girl and works as a software engineer in Hyderabad. The duo met at a wedding in January at Amravati. Since then they were in touch over the phone and through messages. “The accused apparently had developed feelings for her,” said a senior police officer requesting of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the media.
Police sources added that the girl had rejected his proposals on various occasions, because of which he was furious and wanted to take revenge. He had planned to kidnap her and take her to Goa. The accused had arrived in the city three days ago.
The police recovered the chopper and two pocket knives and Rs 12,000 in cash in addition to a bottle of chloroform was recovered from Vaskani’s bag.