Pune: Taxi driver arrested for allegedly assaulting girl student on way to birthday party at Koregaon Park

Pune, May 30, 2024: A 26-year-old taxi driver was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly assaulting a student while traveling from New Sangvi to Koregaon Park on the night of May 14. The student, a resident of New Sangvi, had booked the taxi to attend a birthday party at Koregaon Park.

According to police, the driver, Rahul Mhaske from Thergaon, diverted the taxi to Dehu Road and misbehaved with the student. The student managed to escape and returned home with the help of an autorickshaw driver. She filed a complaint with the Sangvi police the next day, and the case was later transferred to the Dehu Road police for further investigation.

Senior Inspector Vijay Waghmare of Dehu Road police stated that the first lead they had was the driver’s mobile phone number. Mhaske had changed his location to avoid arrest. “Sub-inspector Ajay Rathod and his team have arrested the driver through technical investigation,” Waghmare said.

The 28-year-old student, originally from outside Maharashtra, is pursuing her post-graduation at a university in the city and lives in Sangvi. On the night of the incident, she booked a cab to attend a friend’s birthday party at Koregaon Park. As they neared the destination, the driver claimed he needed to refuel and drove towards Dehu Road, an unknown area for the student.

Suspecting foul play, the student tried to open the door of the moving cabin. The driver then stopped the car and tried to attack her. She escaped and sought help from an autorickshaw driver, who helped her reach home.

Inspector Mahesh Bansode of Sangvi police station (Pimpri Chinchwad police) said the student, who speaks only her mother tongue and English, was assisted by an interpreter during the investigation. She provided the taxi’s license plate number and specified the route, which was recorded in the app. Bansode explained that the app showed that Koregaon Park was just seven minutes away, but the driver took a detour, which raised suspicion when the app indicated that it would now take more than an hour to reach the destination.

The police immediately filed a report and sent a female officer with the student to verify all the locations she mentioned. The investigation was then transferred to the Dehu Road police.

Sub-inspector Ajay Rathod noted that Mhaske had no previous criminal record and was driving a friend’s taxi, which was based in Lonavla. “The suspect has been in pre-trial detention for two days. He claimed that he informed the student about refilling gas. We are interrogating him why he went to Dehu Road and what his intentions were,” Rathod said.

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