Image used for representational purpose only
NOIDA: The ‘axle-gang’, which was behind the most sensational robbery and gang-rape on Jewar-Bulandshahr road, has now switched to placing nails on the expressways to deflate tyres of car-borne commuters and attack them at desolate stretches on the Western and Eastern peripheral expressways.
While the gang has been active since the past many years, many of the unreported cases during 2020– especially on the Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE) have come to fore with the arrest of a gang member called Dinesh alias Dinee and the death of his gang leader Bablu in a shootout with the UP police on July 3.
The most sensational incident which has come to fore is the loot with an uncle-nephew duo and their driver from Mathura who were returning home via the Kundli–Manesar–Palwal (KMP) Expressway on the night of January 27, this year and the sodomy with the 14-year-old boy.
The incident happened around 10.30pm when their car had reached the Kanoli bridge where a tyre got punctured and as they were trying to change the tyre, at least six masked men arrived and took them under the KMP where they snatched Rs 7,000 and phones of the complainant taxi agency owner and his driver.
They then took the 14-year-old boy aside and sodomised him.
In the FIR lodged in the Hathin police station of Palwal district under IPC sections 395 (dacoity), 397 (robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 377 (unnatural offences) and section 6 of the POCSO Act, the complainant has said that as they tried to stop them from sodomising the boy, the accused beat them up and tied them, before leaving them at the spot.
The incident took place after at least three other incidents of loot were reported from Tappal and Naujhil police station areas of Aligarh and Mathura, respectively.
While the accused allegedly looted Rs 10 lakh from a family after deflating their vehicle’s tyre on the Yamuna Expressway on the intervening night of 23 and 24, October 2019. On January 23, the gang allegedly deflated the tyre of a Baleno car and looted a laptop, mobile and Rs 8,000 from the owners. They also looted Rs 80,000 and phone from a family which was travelling on the Expressway via the Naujhil area in Mathura.
In yet another incident that happened in Baghpat’s Chandinagar area, the accused allegedly punctured the tyres of a Creta and looted Rs 50,000 from the complainants.
Rajkumar Mishra, dySP, STF Noida told TOI that while the accused would earlier tend to use the axle technique to stop the vehicles- they would either throw the axle to distract the driver or use an in-house “khadanja” – a piece of rubber with nails protruding to ensure the tyre of the car gets punctured but now, they are simply placing nails on the expressways to deflate tyres.
“After the Bulandshahr gangrape case, people became aware. While earlier, the commuters would stop at any such sound of the axle hitting their vehicle, most would not stop now. They then started using nails to puncture the tyre,” he said.
Increased activity during the lockdown?
While at least seven incidents of loot and assault with commuters on the expressways have been orchestrated by the Bablu Bawariya gang members, multiple incidents have taken place on the KMP during the lockdown.
A police officer from the Palwal police told TOI that during the months of May-June, the accused had become especially active on the stretch of the KMP which falls in Palwal district.
According to the Noida STF, they had allegedly targeted a family travelling via the KMP in Palwal’s Hathin area and looted Rs 4,000 along with gold and silver ornaments on the night of May 14. Further, on May 24, the accused Dinne along with his gang members allegedly stopped a Creta and looted Rs 20,000 from the accused in Sadar police station area of Palwal.
On June 22, Dinne and others got a Volkswagen punctured and looted Rs 25,000 and gold and silver ornaments from the family in Sadar again.
Police arrested Dinesh alias Dinne, 21 days after his gang leader was shot at in encounter with STF in Aligarh’s Tappal
The Noida STF on Friday arrested Dinesh alias Dinne (22) 21 days after the leader of the gang was killed in a shootout with the UP STF.
The accused who had been involved in the different cases of loot and assault by the Bablu bawaria gang on the expressways has allegedly claimed that his brother Ajay and gang leader Bablu were involved in the sensational Bulandshahr gangrape in which a 35-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter were gang-raped by at least seven men on the intervening night of July 29-30, 2016 in Dostpur village abutting the National Highway-91.
The STF officers say the accused has given “significant information” about the gangrape that will soon be shared with the CBI, which is probing the case and has already chargesheeted six people.
Dinne who has as many as seven cases of loot, dacoity and causing hurt during loot registered against him, was the cousin of the deceased gang leader Bablu.
After the arrest of Saleem, Zubair and Sajid, the victim family had identified three more people likely involved in the case in the aftermath of the Mandpura gangrape case.
“Three persons had been identified by us after the Mandpura gangrape case came to fore and the accused claimed that they were involved in the case and gave correct details of the case. I had seen seven persons in total but due to dark, I cannot be sure if there were more. They were either seven or more,” the father of the teenage survivor told TOI, adding that the case continues to be heard in the Bulandshahr court and the last hearing was in March.