Delhi gang which robbed people after offering them lift busted, 3 held

The accused in police custody.

The accused in police custody.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Accused committed dozens of robberies in Delhi-NCR; one on the run

With the arrest of three robbers, the Delhi police claimed to have solved a case where a Canadian national working with an international airlines as a pilot was held hostage and robbed near IGI Airport, the police said on Monday. The fourth member of the gang is absconding, they said.

Sanjay Bhatia, DCP (Airport) said that the arrested persons were identified as Mehraj Salmani, Asif and Farman. All belong to Meerut district in UP. Salmani was the mastermind of the gang. They had been arrested for several heinous crime cases in the past and were out on bail.

“Salmani was plying taxi for the last seven years and his vehicle was registered with an online cab aggregator. To earn quick money, he roped in others and formed a gang and started robbing passengers on the pretext of offering them ride. The gang, however, never targeted passengers who booked cab online to avoid getting caught,” said Mr. Bhatia.

The arrested confessed to have committed about a dozen of robberies in Delhi-NCR. They were also involved in an attempt to murder case in Ghaziabad, said Mr. Bhatia. After every robbery, they would divide the booty in five shares — four for themselves and one for the cab’s EMI, he added.

Recent targets

The police said on the intervening night of July 12 and 13, Mohammad Mehdi Ghanzanfani, a Canadian national, who belongs to Iran and works with Indigo airline as a pilot, arrived at IGI Airport from Kolkata. He was waiting for an Indigo cab which was supposed to come to pick him up. He reached the main road near metro gate no. 2 while talking to the cab driver, when one person offered to drop him in his cab for ₹100.

“When Mr. Ghanzanfani boarded the cab, he found three others inside. He was overpowered and ₹1.30 lakh was withdrawn from his ATM cards. He was dropped on Mahipalpur flyover. He reported the case at Domestic Airport police station,” said Mr. Bhatia.

In a similar case, on June 26, one Gauri Shanker, who was offered lift by the gang, was robbed of ₹90,000, gold chain, ring and mobile phone. The same gang robbed a doctor of ₹20,000 cash, ATM cards and a gold ring on June 20 after he was held hostage.

During investigation, the police zeroed in on the said cab, but the number was found to be fake. “With the help of technical surveillance, CCTV footage and other leads, the police finally traced the accused to Meerut. However, before they could nab them, an UP police team arrested them in an attempt to murder case registered at Sahibabad police station,” said Mr. Bhatia.

During interrogation, the accused said that they would turn on the child lock in the car and removed the handle to roll down the glass of the windows in order to stop their target from getting out of the cab during a robbery. They used to pick up targets from bus stops, railway stations and near airports.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:16:21 AM |

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