Rashmi Rajput for Mumbai Mirror
Mumbai, Mar 18: Vikram Vijay Kumar Poddar (31) was murdered by two brothers he had hitched a ride from on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway on Tuesday. Kevin D’Souza, 28, and Vicky D’Souza, 25, heavily drugged Vikram with sleeping pills and after robbing him, threw him, still unconscious, at Pen Naka on the Panvel highway. The police found Vikram’s dead body in the wee hours on Friday.
Vikram, a software engineer with Infosys and a resident of Monalisa Apartments, Malad, was on his way back to Mumbai for Holi celebrations on Tuesday. Since he had planned to hitchhike to Mumbai, he flagged down a green Indica outside his office at Hinjwadi, Wakad, on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Since Poddar had already informed his wife Sapna at 4.30 pm that he was hitching a ride to Mumbai, the family started worrying when there was no news of him till midnight. At 1 am, his panicked family went to Wakad and lodged a missing person complaint at Hinjwadi police station.
When there was no trace of Vikram even on Thursday, the family decided to check his credit card usage. The statement of credit cards showed that since Vikram had gone missing at least five transactions had been done on the card. The first was a purchase worth Rs 60,000 from Centre One mall in Vashi at 8.14 pm on Tuesday. The purchases included clothes, shoes, grocery items and mobile phones from the various outlets in the mall.
The card was also used to withdraw cash at an ATM centre in Saki Naka and to refill petrol twice (worth Rs 903.48 and Rs 692 at 11.25 pm and 11.39 pm respectively).
Vikram’s second card was used to pay hotels bills at Blue Moon Club hotel at Mira Road and again to fill petrol from Unique Filling Point at Mira Road.
The last purchase they made was of a mobile phone from So-Fine shop at Andheri (E) at around 5.35 pm on Wednesday on another card. Someone had tried to withdraw Rs 5,000 but the transaction failed as the balance was only Rs 3,000 which they later withdrew.
“All of Vikram’s credit card transactions were signed ‘Aikram’. Malls and petrol pump outlets should be vigilant and crosscheck signatures,” said his angry uncle D Aggarwal.
When the police investigated the newly-purchased phone and SIM card records, they found numerous calls had been made to a landline number in Marol. The number was from the house where the duo lived and the calls were made to K L D’souza, the mother of the accused. The police have arrested her along with the duo’s brother.
During investigation the mother revealed that her sons had called her and told her about drugging Vikram after giving him a ride on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Police suspect that the overdose of sleeping pills was the cause of his death. They are awaiting postmortem reports and a hunt is on for the missing duo.
“Vikram was the sole earning member of the family. He has a three-year-old daughter and an old mother. We would like to warn people to avoid taking lifts on the highway,” said his uncle.
• All of Vikram’s credit card transactions were signed ‘Aikram’. Malls and petrol pump outlets should be vigilant and crosscheck signatures