Delhi's first woman auto-rickshaw driver went through a traumatic incident in Ghaziabad on Tuesday when she was robbed of Rs 30,000 by another auto-rickshaw driver.
Sunita Choudhary, 40, had withdrawn the money from her bank account to buy a new auto as her vehicle is 15 years old and needs to be replaced.
The incident occurred when Sunita was returning from her hometown in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. She had gotten off a bus at Mohan Nagar and was searching for an auto to reach home when an auto driver offered a ride.
Sunita got into the auto and asked the driver to drop her at Anand Vihar. A passenger sitting in the front wanted to sit in the rear seat and requested Sunita to keep her bag with the money in the storage area at the back and she obliged.
"I was told to keep my bag behind. Going ahead, the auto suddenly stopped near Vasundhara. The driver told that there was some fault in the engine," Sunita told Hindustan Times.
She added, "I also got off the auto and tried to help out. After several minutes the passenger on the rear seat handed me my bag and asked me to take another auto instead. I started looking for another autorickshaw. Soon, the driver got the autorickshaw running again and drove away suddenly without asking me to get on board."
Surprised at the turn of events, Sunita checked her bag to discover that her savings of Rs 30,000 in cash was missing. She tried chasing the auto but failed. Sunita then went to Sahibabad police station and filed an FIR under section 379 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code.
"I had deposited all my savings to my bank account and took it out before coming to Delhi. I have a commercial license and was planning to get a new permit by depositing Rs 10,000 as security and later buy an autorickshaw. Now, I am left with no option but to hire an auto on daily rent for Rs 300. It is difficult nowadays to get rented autos," a heartbroken Sunita said.
The police said that this is not the first incident in the area of auto drivers robbing passengers. There have been four incidents in the past with the same modus operandi.
"The gangs in previous cases resorted to violence with passengers. They were arrested. This could be some new gang that fled with cash from a woman's bag. We have registered an FIR and are also trying to trace them from any CCTV footage available. Inquiries will also be made with local auto drivers," Sholk Kumar, the superintendent of police, told HT.