Anil Chauhan, accused of stealing nearly 5,000 cars from across the country over the last 24 years, was arrested by Delhi Police after a years-long chase. The 52-year-old kingpin of a 30-member pan-India auto-theft gang, involved in auto-lifting mainly in the capital, is also accused of smuggling narcotics, arms and rhinoceros horns from Assam.
DCP (Central) Shweta Chauhan said that Chauhan was arrested by the special staff of the Central district on August 23 based on a tip-off. Five country-made pistols, five live cartridges and one stolen car were recovered from him.
“In 2015, he was arrested by Assam Police along with a sitting MLA. He is also involved in several cases of arms smuggling,” the DCP added.
The police said Chauhan used to work as a Class -1 contractor with the Assam government before he took a plunge into the world of crime. He is a resident of Tezpur in Assam and has three wives and seven children who live separately. Chauhan would stay in the city’s Khanpur Extension when he came to the city to steal cars, the police also said.
Stole high-end SUVs
“He mostly used to steal high-end vehicles like SUVs and luxury sedans and smuggle them to neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh. While stealing a car, he had a habit of taking his wife along. He used to carry out thefts by creating duplicate keys of a vehicle after carrying out a recce of the area,” a senior police officer said.
“He also smuggled drugs from Assam and Delhi and shipped large consignments of the contraband overseas,” the officer added.
Delhi Police said Chauhan owned a ₹10 crore house and several other plots in his hometown, which were raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). All his properties were seized and auctioned.
Chauhan was arrested by Assam Police on several occasions and even given a five-year sentence in a criminal case in the Capital’s Nizamuddin area.
“Right after completing his schooling, Chauhan was declared a ‘Bad Character’ in the city’s Ambedkar Nagar area. He started stealing Maruti Suzuki cars in the 1980s,” a police source said.
Wore expensive clothes
On his modus operandi, officers said Anil wore branded clothes and expensive accessories, and travelled in luxury cars in order to dodge any suspicion. “He used to sport branded watches and spoke fluent English,” the source added.
Chauhan was first arrested by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch in 2005 when 34 cars were recovered from his possession. “He began by selling most of the stolen cars in Meerut where he used to get a lucrative price,” the source said.