The police arrested 14 men on Monday, all recovery agents who, instead of handing over the vehicles they had taken away from loan defaulters to the banks employing them, sold them off.
About 4,000 cars, most of them luxury vehicles, all bought against bank loans, had been stolen in this manner over the past four years. “Strangely neither the customers whose cars were taken away, nor the banks these men worked for, complained to us,” said Shankar Bidari, city police commissioner.
In every case, the recovery agents convinced the banks’ officers that the defaulter’s car had been sold off to some notorious city criminal, from whom it would be impossible to recover. The bank accepted this dubious explanation each time, agreeing to close the matter and forego the loan amount provided the agent paid off 25 per cent of it.
Thereafter the agents sold the cars in the secondhand market, complete with fake registration number plates and documents for a much higher sum.
All those arrested have criminal record. “They were part of a gang run by one Azar, who despite being in jail, masterminded the fraud,” Bidari said. Police refused to name the banks concerned, beyond stating that they were all private banks.