MUMBAI: An argument over change of Rs 2 has cost the life of a 26-year-old in Godrej Colony, Vikhroli. Chetan Archirnekar, a BBA graduate who had recently taken up a job in an accountancy firm, was returning home after flying down from Goa, his first air trip.
“He was very fond of flying. On Sunday morning, he took a Shatabdi train from Mumbai to Mudgaon and after being in Goa for a few hours, took the 11pm Goa-Mumbai flight. At the airport he took an autorickshaw for home. The unfortunate incident took place after he alighted,” said Chetan’s father, Ganpat Archirnekar, who works in Godrej’s tools division.
Around 1.10am, on Monday, Chetan arrived home with a haversack and knocked on the door. “I opened the door and Chetan asked me for change of Rs 200 so that he could pay the fare. I gave him the money and he went down. When he did not turn up for five minutes, I got worried and went out to see what the matter was. There was an argument going on between Chetan and the auto driver,” said Ganpat.
It transpired later that the fare had come to Rs 172. Chetan had given the driver Rs 200, and the latter was supposed to return Rs 28. But he returned only Rs 20.
“The two were arguing. The auto driver was saying that either Chetan keep an extra Rs 2 (that is, the driver was ready to give Rs 10 more, making the return amount Rs 30) or forget about Rs 8,” said Ganpat. “During the argument, Chetan told the driver to keep Rs 8 and started walking back towards home, but then the auto driver passed a sarcastic remark and also uttered something abusive. This sparked a rage in Chetan. He chased the auto and caught hold of an iron rod. In the process, the auto toppled, with Chetan coming under it.”
At this, Ganpat rushed towards the auto. Seeing Chetan’s father coming towards him, the auto driver, later identified as Kamlesh Mishra, fled the scene instead of coming to the injured youth’s help. Bizarrely, the driver ran straight to the Vikhroli police station and complained that he was being beaten up. Meanwhile, Ganpat and a few neighbours took Chetan to the nearby Godrej Hospital, where he was declared dead within a few hours of admission.
Doctors said Chetan suffered a head injury when he fell down. Also, when the auto fell on him, this injury was compounded, apart from him suffering other injuries.
Senior inspector Sridhar Hanchate of the Vikhroli police station said that Mishra has been arrested and the Indian Penal Code’s section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) slapped on him. He has been remanded in judicial custody.
Chetan is survived by his parents and younger brother Omkar. The nature of his death has shaken the neighbourhood. “Even we are dumbfounded as to how a life can be cut short because of such circumstances,” said a cop.