The Sanpada police have arrested seven people, including three students, for allegedly being involved in several robberies on the Sion-Panvel highway. Of the three students, two are minors, the police said.

On September 30, Nandkumar Subhash Daate (25), a resident of Karanjale in Panvel who had a fish business, was robbed on the highway in Sanpada.

The incident occurred at 2 a.m. when Mr. Daate, along with his partner Ajinkya Padval, were returning from Sassoon Dock in Mr. Padval’s car. After reaching Sanpada, they stopped the car to answer nature’s call.

While Mr. Daate stepped out, Mr. Padval stayed inside the car. Later, when Mr. Daate was getting back into the car, an autorickshaw approached them. Three people came out of the auto and attacked the duo. Later, four more people got out of the auto and assaulted Mr. Daate and Mr. Padval.

The assailants stole a mobile phone and ₹32,000 in cash. The duo then managed to snatch the key of the auto, but the accused started pelting stones at them and they returned the keys.

Mr. Padval memorised the last four digits of the autorickshaw’s licence plate number and mentioned it in his police complaint. “We got the details of five autorickshaws with the same last four digits, verified each one and finally traced the accused,” said assistant police inspector Keshav Dinde.

The accused have been identified as Sachin Lakshman Kale (21), Vyankatesh Vijay Chavan (21), Bonney Shankar Salunkhe (21), Vishal Vinod Kolhe (20), and Siddhant Praveen More (18). All the accused are residents of Nerul.

Following the arrest, it was found that the accused had also conducted two highway robberies at Nerul and one within the APMC limits using the same modus operandi. “The accused have been handed over to the Nerul police for interrogation in the robbery case. We suspect the accused might have committed many such robberies and we are investigating the matter further,” Mr. Dinde said

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