The figures tell it all. On an average, 70 vehicles are stolen from Delhi roads in a single day.
According to Delhi Police records, till March 30 this year, 6353 cases of car thefts had been reported from across the city. The figures for the corresponding period last year stood at 4834 vehicle thefts, a steep jump of 130 per cent.
With such an increase in the number of car thefts in the city, the Delhi Police seems to be left with few options. To tackle the problem, they have turned to the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA)—an act under which hardened criminals like gangsters, drug-runners and terrorists are booked.
In the most recent case, the South Delhi Police charged Khushmeet Rao Gharo (30) ,involved in several cases of car thefts in Delhi and NCR, under MCOCA. He was arrested after a brief encounter in Saket on March 3.
In 2008, as many as 9895 motor vehicle thefts were reported in the city as compared to 8039 in 2007.
Delhi Police commissioner YS Dadwal said, “We will book more and more auto thieves under MCOCA as it is good deterrent against organised car thieves. We also urge people to install anti-theft security gadgets in their cars.”
In December last year, MCOCA was invoked on a gang of thieves who were reportedly running a syndicate of stealing luxury cars.
The gang of seven includes a woman. Once the car was stolen, the woman, identified as Varsha Saxena, accompanied her gang members to dodge the police by giving an impression that they belonged to a family.
Each member of the syndicate was involved in a number of cases of thefts of luxury cars in different parts of India. The gang stole luxury cars and changed the chassis and engine number. The woman helped in transporting the car to Assam and other northeastern states. The cars were then sold to gullible customers by forging the registration papers. The proceeds of the sale were transferred through bank accounts, police said.
The cases of carjacking of luxury vehicles are also on the rise in the city. “As these cars cannot be opened with duplicate keys, car thieves are now resorting to carjacking them. Cars like Skoda, Honda Civic and even high-end luxury SUVs like Mitsubishi Pajeros are much in demand in the black market,” said a senior police officer.
East Delhi seems to be most affected by car thefts with 047 vehicles being stolen in the last three months alone.