A man, who had fled with an Audi Q3 car under the pretext of test drive here last month, was arrested today, police said. The accused, identified as S Venkata Ramana, turned out to be a prized catch for police as he was wanted in a string of cases registered against him in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
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On October 27, he had approached a dealer of pre-owned cars, saying he wanted to buy Audi Q3. Ramana had introduced himself as Gautham Reddy and said he was a doctor at a corporate hospital. Ramana, a native of East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh, is a resident of Bengaluru. “The accused took the Audi Q3 for a test drive along with the dealer’s driver to hospital. After reaching at main entrance gate, the accused asked the driver to get down stating that he alone will show the Audi car to his colleagues,” police said based on a complaint lodged by the dealer.
As soon as the driver got down, Ramana drove inside the hospital premises and escaped with the car, police said. A case was registered against him under section 379 (punishment for theft) of IPC. During the course of investigation, Ramana was from here and police seized the stolen car from him. During interrogation, police found that he is an habitual vehicle lifter who had committed theft of about 40 cars, and escaped twice from police custody while being escorted to courts.
“The accused is a notorious offender and he is involved in 83 cases across the country including in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” a release from West Zone police said. “Currently, the accused is wanted in 23 cases in these states and had been not attending the court for trial of his previous cases. Six NBWs were pending against him,” it stated.
His modus operandi is to pose himself as son or relative of prominent political persons and introduce himself as a doctor to automobile dealers. “He would say he is looking to purchase a high-end car, but used to escape with the car on the pretext of test drive,” it said.