Two auto-lifters arrested; over 30 cases solved

NEW DELHI, NOV. 29. Two young men, who were allegedly involved in at least 32 cases of auto-theft in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, were arrested from Sarojini Nagar by the Special Staff of the South-West Delhi police this past week. The accused, at whose instance seven stolen vehicles have been recovered so far, used to sell the vehicles to junk dealers at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-West Delhi), Deependra Pathak, Sub-Inspector Rajkumar of the Special Staff recently received a tip-off that a notorious auto-lifter, Anwar, would come to Sarojini Nagar in a Maruti van bearing fake number plate. Subsequently, a team comprising Sub-Inspector Ravinder Tyagi and others laid a trap and intercepted the vehicle on Mata Vijayaraje Scindia Marg and overpowered the two occupants. They were identified as Anwar and Saleem. Investigations revealed that the van had been stolen from Kavi Nagar in Ghaziabad.

During interrogation, Salim revealed that he along with his brother-in-law ran an iron-steel factory on Mawana Road in Meerut. One of his relatives, Shahzad, used to buy stolen vehicles from auto-lifters and sell them to junk dealers to make quick money. Following the same modus operandi, Salim also started buying stolen vehicles from Anwar for about Rs. 15,000 each. He used to sell the vehicles for about Rs. 30,000 each to junk dealers who dismantled and disposed them of. Salim revealed that over 100 auto-lifters sell stolen vehicles in Soti Ganj junk market at Meerut and it has become quite a flourishing business these days. The junk dealers are expert at dismantling the vehicles within an hour, following which it becomes difficult for the police to recover them even after they arrest the suspected auto-lifters.

Anwar disclosed that his father runs a small restaurant from his Rana Pratap Bagh residence. In 1999, he started working as a mechanic with a Maruti workshop at Taimur Nagar in South Delhi. There, he came in contact with a car thief, Shakeel, who offered him a stolen car for just Rs. 6,000. Anwar sold that vehicle to his contact in Haryana and made some money in that deal. Lured by the prospect of easy money, he received another stolen vehicle from Shakeel, but was arrested in that case, after which he was sent to jail. Coming out of the jail, he began stealing vehicles and was arrested again in June 2001. He remained in various jails in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, during which he met some criminals, along with whom he again started stealing vehicles after being released about a year ago. He revealed that he usually sold the stolen vehicles to Saleem and Shahzad. At his instance, the police have recovered four Maruti cars, a Maruti van and two motorcycles.

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