Two autorickshaw drivers — whose licences were seized by the traffic police because they couldn’t pay the fine —were arrested for stealing vehicles on Monday.
The traffic police had seized the driving licences of Saha Jamal Murteza, 19, and his brother Hanif, 22, in November for not possessing documents. “As they could not pay the fine, their driving licences remained with the traffic authorities,” said AS Sawant, assistant inspector, Navghar police station. Unemployed, the duo along with their brother-in law Arman Qureshi, 25, allegedly decided to use their expertise to steal autorickshaws from city limits and sell it in Nerul, said the police.
The trio got in touch with Sahebrao Jadhav, 32, from Nerul who was willing to purchase autos for Rs20,000 each.
Within three months, the trio managed to sell seven rickshaws to Jadhav. “Jadhav would change the number plate and sell it,” he said.
The racket was unearthed during the investigation process for an autorickshaw stolen from Navghar on February 21. The police received a tip-off that the vehicle was with Jadhav who was then detained.
Jadhav told police that he purchased the vehicle from Nalasopara resident Saha. Saha’s arrest led to the arrest of Hanif and Qureshi.
“The accused would tell Jadhav that he bought the vehicles from scrap after repairing them a bit. Jadhav too would give the same reason to his buyers who demanded documents pertaining to the vehicles,” said Mahadeo Gundewadi, assistant commissioner of police, (Mulund division) .
The trio has been remanded in police custody till March 9.