Mumbai cops bust gang of ‘helpful strangers’ cheating motorists

  • Vijay Kumar Yadav, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 19, 2015 21:44 IST

If you are driving and a stranger signals to you about a problem with your car, don’t trust him blindly.

The Dongri police have arrested four people who would cheat motorists. They would stop vehicles on roads, tell the drivers there was a spark in the engine, and send them to mechanics who was their accomplice, said officers of the Dongri police. The mechanics would then overcharge them to ‘repair’ their car.

Mohd. Tahir Noormohammed Shaikh, 27, Mohd. Zahid Shaikh, 24, Zakir Hussain Shaikh, 31 and Mohd. Nasir Shafi, 28 were arrested on the complaint of income tax inspector Pritamkumar Shekade, who was targeted by the gang on January 1 this year.

Sandeep Dal, senior inspector, Dongri police station, said the four would stand a little distance apart at busy roads. One of them would zero in on an expensive car, and wave to the driver, signalling something was wrong with the car.

“If the motorists drove on, the next, and the next gang-member would signal them to stop. Once they did, the accused would tell them there were sparks near the bonnet. Most motorists would open the car’s bonnet and go to the driver’s seat to ignite the car,” said Dal.

Under cover of the bonnet, the accused would then pull the engine’s power cable, making it spark, police officers said. The motorists would then be convinced there was a problem with their car, and the accused would then direct them to a garage.

“They would make the motorists use their own mobile phones to call the mechanics, who would then charge the victims Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 for parts that cost Rs 1000-1500. The accused would pocket a share from the money,” said S Yadav, assistant inspector, Dongri police station.

The gang members told the police they did not operate on highways, where most vehicles are moving fast. They would target people on main roads, especially near signals and speed breakers where motorists slow down, Yadav said.

The gang has targeted people in Chembur, Vakola, Andheri, Jogeshwari and Goregaon. During interrogation, they told investigators many such gangs are operating in the city.

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