The arrests of three men — Ambika Prasad Barai, 40, Rajesh Nadar and Shamim Ansari alias Salim — who ran a bogus taxi permit racket has brought to the fore how hundreds of drivers and authorities are cheated with forged documents.
The gang was busted as a result of an investigation into the complaint filed by a garage owner from Byculla, Mohammed Shaikh. Shaikh got in touch with Barai, a Dombivli resident, who promised to get him a taxi, with the complete documentation and loan process, for Rs6 lakh. He also told Shaikh he could get Rs3.5 lakh sanctioned as loan from the Raghuvir Sahkari Co-operative Credit Society and asked Shaikh to arrange for the rest of the money, the police said.
On Barai’s instructions, Shaikh allegedly paid Rs2.5 lakh to him, who then gave him the vehicle, along with the agreement document, insurance papers, permits and other required documents. Shaikh’s taxi started running on the roads, but as he failed to pay three loan installments, it was seized by the credit society. The society authorities then asked Shaikh to pay the balance instalments and submit the taxi’s original papers.
When Shaikh reached the society with the taxi’s original papers, he was told the documents submitted by him, including the permit, were bogus.
Shaikh then registered a complaint with the Agripada police last week, which led to arrest of Barai and his two aides.
“Barai confessed to cheating 17 people in a similar fashion. He also told us he is in contact with other racket members, who run similar rackets across the city,” said an officer, adding, “All documents given to the owners look very similar to the original papers. It is difficult to make out they are bogus.”
“The three accused have been booked under the relevant sections for cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust. More arrests are likely in the case,” said Arvind Patil, senior inspector Agripada police station.
The accused have been remanded in police custody.