NEW DELHI

Inter-State auto-lifters' gang smashed, eleven nabbed

NEW DELHI, MARCH 17. Eleven people allegedly involved in the theft of over 72 luxury vehicles have been arrested by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police. While four stolen vehicles have been recovered, 68 others, including a Chevrolet, have been traced to Arunachal Pradesh.

Acting on a tip-off that some criminals had been stealing vehicles in Delhi and disposing them of in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the police sent a decoy to strike a deal with them for two Scorpio jeeps at a price of Rs. 2.5 lakhs each. As soon as four of the accused -- Thaneshwar Adhikari, Mahesh Kumar, Mohammad Shamim and Naveen Kumar -- arrived to deliver the vehicles, the police arrested them. The vehicles were stolen from Preet Vihar in East Delhi and Greater Kailash in South Delhi earlier this year.

At their instance, the police arrested five more people, identified as Raza Khan, Syed Fuzal Ahmed, Sahjad Khan, Ali Ahmed and Nadim Khan, from whom a Santro stolen from Anand Vihar was recovered.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed that they used to dispose of stolen vehicles in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where the police struck another deal with their accomplices, Nanu Teli and Nitin Tyagi, for a Santro and arrested them subsequently. The vehicle had been stolen from Goregaon in Mumbai.

Investigations revealed that the vehicles disposed of by the gang had been registered with the transport authorities at Arunachal Pradesh, following which a team was stationed there to identify them. As many as 68 vehicles have been found there so far.

The police suspect that the gang members stole over 100 more vehicles.

The accused disclosed that Ali Ahmed, Shahzad Khan and Nadeem Khan had formed the gang, which was headed by Fuzal Ahmed aka doctor. The gang would operate in two groups and would conduct reconnaissance in posh areas to identify luxury cars with specific choice of colours. They would also examine the locking-system of the vehicles, after which they would steal them and drive them straight away out of the Capital to avoid detection.

The gang leader, Fuzal, who had done two-year diploma course in registered medial practice from Lucknow and had set up his practice at Meerut to hide his "real job". The police said Ali Ahmed was expert at forging documents, while Mahesh, Shamim, Nitin and Naveen allegedly worked as carriers of the stolen vehicles. They would take the vehicles to Siliguri where their registration numbers would be changed, following which the vehicles would be delivered to Nanu Teli in Guwahati. Further investigations are on.

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