The Delhi Police Crime Branch busted a gang that used to buy damaged cars from insurance companies and replace them with stolen cars of the same make. The accused have been identified as Arif Hussain and Lakhwinder Singh. According to police, the accused bought damaged cars with proper documents from insurance companies, then replaced their registration and engine numbers with that of the stolen cars. They then sold the stolen cars to prospective buyers by bluffing that the cars were “remade at the workshops and are genuine”.
Police said they received a tip-off about the gang, and a trap was laid at Dwarka Sector 16 on March 1. “The accused persons, Hussain and Singh, were apprehended while they were going to deliver a stolen Duster car bearing a Chhattisgarh registration number. The engine number was found tampered with,” said JCP(crime) Praveer Ranjan. Explaining the modus operandi, police said the accused operated from Chhattisgarh, and bought the damaged cars from there. Hussain had contacts in various car companies’ service stations. He would buy damaged cars from the insurance companies, along with their documents, and then pass them on to the workshops, police said.
“Hussain would dump the vehicle at the workshops and then wait for a stolen vehicle of the same make. After procuring the vehicles, they changed the ECM, locks and registration numbers. We recovered four vehicles with Chhattisgarh numbers,” said a police officer.
Hussain, who hails from Moradabad, has been involved in the business for the last four years, said a police officer. The officer further said that typically, Hussain and Lakhwinder earned around Rs 2.5 lakh through every transaction.
“For instance, Hussain bought a Duster from an insurance company at Rs 1.5 lakh and gave it to the workshop. The workshop owner sold the stolen car to Hussain with the changed registration numbers for Rs 2 lakh. Hussain and Singh then sold it for Rs 6 lakh,” said the officer.
Lakhwinder’s main role was to sell the vehicles in Punjab and Chhattisgarh, and he had recently delivered three stolen cars to one individual, said the officer. Police said that one of these cars was recently stolen from Delhi’s Mayapuri. During interrogation, Lakhwinder disclosed that initially he was running a motor parts shop in Punjab, and in 2010, he and his family shifted to Raipur, Chhattisgarh, where he started an auto electrical business. In 2011, he met one Alisher, who used to steal stolen vehicles from Maharashtra and sell them to prospective buyers for lucrative rates, police said.
In 2016, Lakhwinder was arrested in a case of car theft in Gurgaon, when he met Hussain in jail. After coming out of jail, both of them and their associates started purchasing ‘accidental damaged vehicles’, police said.