Vehicle lifters’ gang busted; Member with stolen vehicles worth Rs 1 crore nabbed
BHOPAL: A member of an interstate vehicle lifters gang has been arrested and seven commercial vehicles worth over Rs 1 crore that he sold after allegedly changing engine and chassis number were recovered from him.
The accused would present a fake no-objection certificate of Agra Regional Transport Office (RTO), stating that originally the vehicle was registered there to get the vehicles transferred and registered here with Bhopal RTO.
The RTO would register vehicle here, which helped accused give complete documents of stolen vehicles to buyer.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Raman Singh Sikarwar did not rule possibility of a nexus between RTO officials and vehicle lifters. It is a matter of investigation and things would be unfolded soon, he said, adding that five more vehicles will be recovered from him soon.
The accused has been identified as Abid Khan, a resident of Ashta in Sehore district. This is the second time he has been arrested in past two years. When arrested last, the crime branch had recovered 14 four-wheelers from him. After serving jail term, he resorted to unlawful act.
The accused has a garage in Ashta and is well-versed with vehicles. Police have recovered a die from him that he allegedly used to emboss fake engine and chassis number on vehicles after rubbing out original numbers.
This explains why police could not know identity of owners of recovered vehicle and cops had written to automobile companies seized from his possession to reach out buyers. He led police to vehicles sold to people here. All were known to him due to which they did not doubt his intentions, police added.
On how he was arrested, officials said they received a tip-off that a person was coming to Bhopal from Sehore with a stolen vehicle following which they intercepted him near Gandhi Nagar. The accused confidentially showed registration papers of vehicle he was driving telling cops he was clean.
However, when cops tallied engine and chassis number of vehicle with documents produced by him there was some difference. When quizzed, Abid Khan said it was a mistake from RTO and he has not lifted vehicle. But, he later broke down during interrogation.
He said he was getting supply of lifted vehicles from operators in Uttar Pradesh between Rs 28,000 to Rs 50,000 and deposited money through bank after getting cleared registration documents. His workshop in Ashta would be used to clear original numbers of vehicles and emboss fake numbers of them.
Waking up to serious lapse—registration of stolen vehicles in Bhopal RTO, officials said, Bhopal RTO had written to Agra RTO in 2013on getting doubtful about NoC issued by it. Despite Agra RTO writing back to Bhopal RTO, officials here did not pursue the matter seriously and did not bother to inform police.
Cops said an agent in Agra RTO who helped or other members of the gang could not be arrested from UP and yet to ascertain identity of those in RTO here who helped Abid.