Waking up to the rising cases of vehicle thefts, the Mumbai police administration has now realised the need to tackle such cases on priority basis.
Following the July 13 blasts last year, in which the attackers used two stolen scooters as carriers of bombs, the Mumbai police commissioner, Arup Patnaik, had directed police stations across the city to register first information reports for vehicle theft cases, instead of marking them as non-cognisable offences.
Investigating an offence is mandatory once an FIR is registered. Officials said that the circular was also aimed at doing away with the complacency that non-cognisable offences are often dealt with.
“It was found that even vehicle owners were not keen on pursuing the cases because they would be compensated by their insurance companies if their vehicle was not traced in the stipulated time period. However, such thefts have a greater ramification if the vehicle falls into the wrong hands,” said a police official.
Following the directive, there has been a considerable rise in the Mumbai police’s motor vehicle theft statistics. The order also prompted the crime branch to open a separate cell to deal with such cases.
“It is because the police have to investigate the cases [if an FIR is registered] that they have been able to trace gangs involved in vehicle theft,” said the police official.