Apart from being misused for criminal activities or to aid terror attacks, stolen vehicles are often used by candidates during various elections, especially in the northern states.
The police claim that there is a substantial increased in vehicle thefts during the run up to elections.
In Mumbai and Maharashtra, there was a marked rise in vehicle thefts in 2011 as compared to the previous years, which police have linked to zilla parishad and municipal polls. Police also said there was a greater demand for four-wheelers in rural areas going to polls.
“During election-time in the north, thieves show a special interest in white jeeps, such as Tavera, Bolero and Scorpio, since they are more in demand there,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime).
According to statistics from the Mumbai police, 1,160 four-wheelers and 2,506 two-wheelers were stolen from the city in 2010.
In 2011, the numbers rose to 1,540 and 2,606 for four-wheelers and two-wheelers respectively.
Of these, Scorpios, Taveras and Boleros accounted for the most thefts.
Police are now taking several measures to control vehicle thefts in the city.
“We have increased deployment at vulnerable spots and have tracked down gangs that deal specifically with vehicle thefts. We have also traced receivers of these vehicles,” said Roy.