Five men, including a retired Indian Army sepoy, were arrested for operating an inter-state gang of autolifters suspected to be involved in the theft of at least 500 vehicles from locations a cross north.
PS Kushwah, additional DCP (crime) said 54-year-old Kharka Bahadur Rana, a resident of Siliguri in West Bengal, had been leading his gang for close to a decade. He stole luxury vehicles and was the biggest receiver of stolen vehicles in the northeast.
“For stealing vehicles, they used drills and especially prepared tools to break locks. The vehicles were then driven to Meerut and handed over to one of their associates who would replace the entire lock sets of the vehicles,” said Kushwah.
In addition to Rana, the other gang members have been identified as Mohammad Arkan, 40, Arman, 22, Shekhar Singh, 29 and Muzaffar, 40.
The police’s first breakthrough in the case came with the arrest of Arman, who was riding a stolen motorcycle and was wanted in 10 cases of autolifting, on September 26.
“Subsequently, Shekhar, who used to sell vehicles stolen by the gang after they had been punched with the chassis and engine numbers of ‘total loss vehicles’ was arrested on October 3,” Kushwah said.
Shekhar’s interrogation led the police to Muzzafar, a resident of Meerut , on November 12 and Rana was finally arrested on December 19 from Siliguri after being intercepted while driving a stolen WagonR car.
“Stolen vehicles which the gang could not pass off as second-hand vehicles in Delhi and the NCR were disposed off by Rana through his contacts in Mizoram, and Manipur after he had prepared their fake registration certificates and other papers,” Kushwah added