The Delhi Police have busted a huge racket involving the stealing and selling of high-end cellphones, especially iPhones, that crisscrosses the country and goes as far as China and Nepal.
In their biggest such operation, the force has arrested eight persons, including a DU graduate, in the last three days and recovered 448 phones, including 310 Apple iPhones, worth R2.5 crore. These phones were stolen from Delhi, Kerala, Bihar, Mumbai and Haryana.
The interstate gang, the police said, stole the phones and sold their parts to registered service centres and to dealers at Gaffar Market in Karol Bagh. The screens went for R17,000 each, the cameras for R5,000. The motherboard and the rest of the body, which could not be used in India for fear of being tracked, were sent to the two neighbouring countries. The gang comprised snatchers and receivers.
Smelling a racket, the police put a snatcher, Vicky, under surveillance and with his arrest, unearthed the racket. They got lucky, too. During Vicky’s interrogation, DCP, north, Madhur Verma said, “Some receivers called him, asking him to deliver a consignment. The investigators, posing as the snatcher, spoke to the receivers and sought an urgent meeting. They lay a trap, called the receivers to a place from where they were arrested.”
Vicky gave the police the names of receivers he supplied stolen phones to. One of them, Tarun, named a Delhi University BCom graduate who ran the pan-India racket. The police — who did not identify him as it may compromise the investigation — raided his Mangolpuri house and recovered 328 mobile phones.
“Many snatchers work for this receiver across the country. They steal phones and send them to him. Two of his associates travel to Nepal to dispose of the parts that cannot be used in India,” Verma said, adding that the operation is on and more arrests are likely.
The police have another challenge on their hands — tracing the owners of the phones. A team is going through the phones’ IMEI numbers for this purpose.