Thieves take their pick of impounded old cars in Delhi

  • Soumya Pillai, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2015 02:04 IST

As many as 17 vehicles impounded by the Delhi Traffic Police have been stolen from yards across the city in the last 30 days. The cars were among hundreds taken off the Capital’s roads over a period of three months after the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) ban on vehicles older than 15 years.

The four-wheelers, which were parked at traffic pits meant for impounded cars, included hatchbacks like Hyundai Santro and Wagon R, and sedans like Honda City and Maruti Esteem, sources in the traffic police said.

Several other vehicles were missing engines, tyres, side mirrors and brand mascots that are hoisted on the hood of luxury cars. However, the most stolen car part was the engine control module (ECM), a mini-computer which ensures optimal engine performance. It can easily fetch Rs 6,000 in the second-hand market while a luxury brand mascot can be sold for Rs 50,000.

“We do not have enough officials to deploy at each traffic pit to safeguard these impounded vehicles. It is difficult to guarantee their safety, especially when they have to be retained indefinitely,” said a senior police official. “These vehicles can be taken outside Delhi, reducing the chance of the culprits getting caught.”

Six of the vehicles were stolen from the yard in north Delhi’s Burari -- the largest of the 21 traffic pits in the city. It can accommodate around 4,000 cars.

The traffic police started impounding vehicles -- both petrol and diesel-run – after the NGT banned from the city roads in a bid to clear the Capital’s highly toxic air. Around 1,400 vehicles have been impounded in the last three months, officials said.

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