The Special Operations Group (SOG) busted a luxury car-theft gang operated by a retired Indian Army Colonel and his accomplices, police said.
The said gang operated since 2000 and have sold the stolen luxury cars to serving and retired army officials, police disclosed on Sunday.
In all, 11 luxury cars like Tata-Safari, Hyundai-Verna, i-10 and Honda-City were recovered from different locations in Panchkula and Samba area of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and one person was taken into custody, police said.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raghubir Lal informed reporters that retired Colonel M P Singh, belonging to the Army Supply Corps (ASC) was the mastermind of the thefts. Singh later sold these cars to serving and retired officials of the rank of Brigadier and Colonel.
“We have come to know of around 160 such cars which have been sold only to defence personnel. The mastermind was tracked on the basis of an informer, when he sold a car to a civilian for the first time,” he added.
“We called up senior army officials informing them that the cars they bought were stolen. They immediately returned the car to the police. They were not aware that the cars they purchased were stolen. So, they are not involved in the crime,” Lal added.
Singh is presently absconding with his family from Meerut. Police teams have been sent to nab his two accomplices, who prepared forged documents in states like Jharkhand and Bihar, which is where vehicle registrations are done manually, officials said.
“These cars were stolen from Rajasthan, UP, Haryana and later sold to senior army officials,” said Nakad Narayan, a member of the gang.
The purchaser did not expect foulplay as Singh was a retired army officer. He
also minted money during army recruitment drives in Meerut during his posting,” Narayan added.