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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Tales of looting by car tyre puncture racket in Pune city

People in Pune say the modus operandi is similar and well-scripted. The repair shop owner says there are several punctures and people have no another option but to pay.

pune Updated: Oct 26, 2017 18:57 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Many people have complained that there is a racket involved in the repair of car tyre punctures in Pune. (HT file photo)
Many people have complained that there is a racket involved in the repair of car tyre punctures in Pune. (HT file photo)

Although Sinhagad road residents had earlier complained of a racket involved in duping people by falsely charging them for punctures in vehicle tyres when there were none, the recent incident involving a gynecologist allegedly duped by a tyre puncture repair shop has raised their suspicion further.

On October 12, Dr Meenakshi Yelvantge, and her husband Somnath, were on their way to check patients at Nanded city in their Honda City car. As the couple stopped at a traffic signal on Sinhagad road, an unidentified person on two-wheeler overtook them and signalled her that she had a flat tire.

At first, the gynecologist did not pay any attention to the biker. However, after a while she thought she should get it checked and took the vehicle to a tyre repair shop near Navshya Maruti temple to check the air pressure in tyres. 

While Meenakshi was busy talking to her husband, the shop owner told her that the tyre had just two points of pressure and needs to be checked for puncture.

After agreeing to repair the puncture for Rs 100 per puncture, the shop owner started repairing it. As he went after repairing a puncture of the tubeless tyre, after few minutes, the shop owner told the gynecologist that the tyre has 32 punctures.

“As I was in hurry, I agreed to pay Rs 3,200. After that, the shopkeeper persuaded me to buy the anti-puncture liquid worth Rs 2,000. As I agreed to pay for the liquid, he then advised me to change the tyre of my new car for RS 13,700,” said Meenakshi.

Later on, when she discussed the incident with her friend Dr Ganesh Jagdale, an orthopedic doctor and resident of Nanded city, she found that he was also subjected to a similar situation last month near Baba petrol pump at Navale bridge on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway. According to Jagdale, he spent Rs 1,000 for 10 punctures after negotiation.

After listening to similar experiences from their friends, the Yelvantge family lodged a police complaint on October 13, at Dattawadi police station. When the police visited the puncture shop, it was locked and the owner was not there.

Dr Ganesh Jagdale said,“There is a big racket involved in this puncture scam. Their modus operandi is similar and well scripted. First a person will tell you about your vehicle puncture. Then, the puncture repair shop owner will surprise you stating some number of punctures and when you do not have another option to negotiate, you end up paying. Police should look into this issue.” 

In another case, manager of IDBI Bank, Warje branch, Sanjay Valeccha also spent Rs 2,000 for 20 punctures on Sinhagad road.

Dr Meenakshi Yelvantge said,“We were totally unaware about what the garage person was doing with our tyres. We were totally trapped by them. I kept wondering as to how a brand new car had 32 punctures, but because we were in a hurry, we ignored it and paid him the money.”

When Hindustan Times contacted police inspector Anil Patil of Dattawadi police station, he said, “We have received two complaints about puncture shops. When our team visited both the spots, no one was present there and both the garages were closed. Our team is investigating the cases.”

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 23:24 IST

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