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THE ANTI-MOTOR vehicle theft (AMVT) unit of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch Wednesday busted a gang allegedly involved in stealing cars and selling them as second-hand vehicles after changing their chassis number and engine number, officers said. The police said the accused would buy vehicles that were to be sold for scrap, remove their chassis and engine numbers and put them on stolen vehicles.
DCP Vinay Kumar Rathod said that the AMVT unit received a tip-off about one Nasir Zafar Khan (56), allegedly involved in several cases of vehicle theft, coming to Goregaon. A team led by senior inspector Rajendra Juvekar and inspector J Y Tambe reached the spot and arrested Khan, who, during interrogation, told the police he was involved in stealing four-wheelers and had kept them at a garage in Pune. A police team went to Pune and found five stolen vehicles. Later, two more vehicles were found.
“A total of seven four-wheelers worth Rs 54 lakh have been recovered. Most of them were stolen from Mumbai and Pune,” Rathod said.
Apart from the vehicles, the police found several number plates, grinders, cylinders and chassis numbers at the godown. On interrogation, the police found that the gang would buy vehicles over 70 – 80 per cent damaged. They would then scout for a vehicle of a similar make and colour and steal it. The chassis number, engine number and speedometer of the damaged vehicle would be put on the stolen vehicle, which would be sold off in the second-hand market. “We are seeking the custody of two persons — Faiz Shaikh (38) and Aziz Khan (44), arrested by unit 1 of the crime branch — through whom Khan sold these vehicles,” the officer added.
The police are trying to find how the accused got to know about the damaged cars. “Normally, when a car is over 70 per cent damaged, like most cars in this case were, the owner takes the insurance money. The insurance company informs the RTO concerned, and the vehicle is scrapped. We are probing if someone from an insurance company would tip off the accused in this case,” an officer said.