Three people were injured when they tried to prevent the gang in Karvenagar, which is close to Ramnagar in Warje where a police combing operation was on in the wake of a recent firing incident and instances of vehicle vandalism .
The police later arrested Warje resident Digvijay, alias Papulya Waghmare (20), who was wanted by the Alankar and Warje police in attempted murder cases, and his five accomplices.
The police invoked charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against them. Additional commissioner of police (West) Pravinkumar Patil told TOI, “CCTV footage from the spots enabled us to identify Waghmare.
We had initiated a proposal on June 1 to charge Waghare and his aides under MCOCA after his involvement in the two murder attempt cases, besides cases of mischief, and Arms Act in April-May against him and his associates.” City police commissioner Retesh Kumarr signed the MCOCA proposal on Tuesday following the incidents.
The police said more youngsters from Warje and Karvenagar were affiliated to Waghmare. Some gang members were booked for serious crimes when they were minors. DCP (Zone III) Suhail Sharma said, “We were searching for Waghmare and his aides for the last two months after they had damaged four vehicles and assaulted a 17-year-old boy at Ganapati Matha. In the present case, we are questioning them on the reason behind the rampage.
So far, they haven’t given any valid reason for their action.” It all started when the gang of eight first entered lane no 7 along the canal road in Karvenagar on four motorcycles. “They damaged three two-wheelers and seven fourwheelers, besides assaulting Anup Anant Walunjkar (28), Yasin Ismail Shaikh (29) of Karvenagar and Vishal Vishnu Chate (22) of Erandwane with sharp weapons for raising an alarm and preventing them,” inspector Datta Bagwe of the Warje police told TOI. Locals made frantic calls to the police and a team rushed to Karvenagar.
“By then, Waghmare and his aides had left the locality and reached Taljai Vasahat where they started damaging the windshields and window panes of some tempos, a school bus and autorickshaws, among other vehicles,” Patil said. “In all, the gang of eight damaged 26 vehicles at Taljai vasahat,” said inspector Sawlaram Salgaonkar of the Sahakarnagar police.
Some youngsters from Taljai tried to put up a resistance by hurling flower pots at the vandals. But they beat a hasty retreat when the gangsters charged at them with weapons. Ganesh Shirke, a local resident said, “The vandals were armed. We ran for safety. We hid in a building and they gave up chase. They again went to the street. We collected stones and went after them. We threw stones at them and they sped away on motorcycles,” Shirke added.