A gang of robbers who carjacked Ola taxis used stolen mobile phones to book the vehicles via the internet-based application. The gang would first steal a phone to book the cab and after carjacking, they would dispose of the handset.
Officials of the property cell of the crime branch identified the gang after they came across similar offences registered in Thane and Bhiwandi.
After studying the modus, the officials tracked down one Abdul Kader Shaikh from Mumbra, who confessed to the July 26 night carjacking at Wadala. The officials then identified other accused Akram Iqbal Khan, 26, Zahir Khan, 27, and Waqar Hussein Khan, 24, all residents of Mumbra in Thane district.
The gang was well versed in using online application, thanks to Zahir, who was a higher secondary pass out. The accused also used an internet-based sharing application to transfer the downloaded application from one stolen phone to other to use the same one-time password (OTP).
“Before booking the cab from Wadala TT to Ghatkopar in the night of July 24, the accused had targeted a commuter at Mumbra station and stolen his mobile phone. They slapped a person near the ticket reservation counter and robbed his phone that was used to book the Ola cab,” said a crime branch officer.
The gang had committed similar offences with the same modus in the jurisdiction of Rabodi police station in Thane and Narpoli police station in Bhiwandi. Ahmed is also wanted in similar cases by Manpur police station in Madhya Pradesh and Taloda police station in Nandurbar.
The investigators said the accused would rob the driver of the cab of his cash, valuables and vehicle and would drive the vehicle into the interiors of the state. “The accused would drive rashly, splurge on the money they robbed, and after the vehicle ran out of fuel, they would abandon it and steal another cab,” said the officer.