The Thane crime branch arrested two men for making fake taxi and auto-rickshaw badges. The Wagale Estate crime branch unit 5 got a tip-off that a duo was making fake badges on the third floor of the Sai Chintamani apartment at the Lokmanya Nagar Pada no 1. Accordingly, the police raided flat no 305 of the said building and arrested Shivaji Vichare, 49, and Ramesh Vakale, 55, on September 10.
The police found five brass badges, similar to the ones provided by the RTO to the taxi and auto-rickshaw owners and drivers. Besides, the cops also confiscated machinery required to make these metal badges, including hexablade handles, wise machines, drill machines and metal cutters.
An officer from Wagale crime branch unit 5 said, “Vichare is in the business of making fake badges for the last five years. He did not get any formal training in printing, but learnt the procedure from books. He had no permission from the RTO. He used to earn a profit of Rs40 to Rs100 per badge. Vichare used to get the work of making badges from Vakale, who washes autos at stands across Vashi, Nerul, Panvel, Belapur, Thane and Mumbai.”
He got his clients at these stands. “Many auto, taxi and bus drivers approach him with a fake badge number and gets them prepared by Vichare. He claim to have sold over 1,000 badges till date, most of them to the north Indians who do not have a residence proof or have cleared Std X exams,” the officer added.
The police inquired with the RTO whether it had granted permission to the duo to make the badges, to which the officers replied in negative. Based on this information, the police booked Vichare and Vakale under sections 465, 468, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal code (IPC) for cheating, forgery and crime done with common intension.