An app-based cab driver and his accomplice have been arrested for his alleged involvement in a series of car thefts across Mumbai. The accused were identified as Rajkumar Pal, an Ola driver, and Mohamed Khadeem Abdul Razaaq Shaikh (37), who is allegedly the mastermind in the case. According to police, Shaikh, who is from Uttar Pradesh, used to work as a taxi driver. He would steal vehicles from Mumbai and then drive them down till Uttar Pradesh to sell them, police said. The group involved in the thefts comprised Abdul Sattar, Indresh Yadav, Umesh Yadav and Rohitkumar Mishra alias Mintu, who are still on the run. According to police, Pal, who joined the group later, was central to the thefts. With Pal’s help, Shaikh would park the cab next to the targe vehicle, after which he would open it with a screw driver and flee with the car.
An officer from Dahisar police station said, “Shaikh would leave during the night hours and target vehicles parked on the roadside. Pal would be the one accompanying him, so Shaikh would act as a passenger, which would help them move swiftly during police bandobast.” In the last week of June, a case of car theft was registered with the Dahisar police in which the accused fled with a car.
“During investigation, we found CCTV footage in which we could clearly see an Ola cab parked next to the stolen car. Later, with the help of its registration number, we brought the cab driver to the police station for inquiry and after his confession, Pal was arrested,” said Senior Police Inspector Vasant Pingale from Dahisar police station.
Pal revealed that Shaikh had fled to Uttar Pradesh in the car and had planned to sell the vehicle there. A team was dispatched to Uttar Pradesh and Shaikh was arrested from his residence. “We have learnt that Shaikh is involved in over 29 cases across Mumbai,” said Pingale. When contacted, an Ola spokesperson said, “Given that we are waiting for the details of this case, we will not be able to share any information at this moment.”