With the arrest of a garage owner from Ganeshnagar in Ravet, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police claimed to have busted a stolen car racket in which cars were allegedly stolen from different locations in North India and brought to Pune for sale.
So as to not arouse suspicion, the accused replaced the registration plates and chassis numbers of stolen cars with those obtained from scrap cars, and sold them further as second-hand cars, police said.
Police identified the accused as Chanprit Harvinderpal Singh, a history-sheeter with 10 cases of vehicle theft registered against him in Punjab. While the accused hails from Punjab, he presently has residences in Pune and Delhi.
According to police, Singh owns the garage with an associate, who is absconding. Police are looking for him.
Police said in recent years, Singh and his associate sold 12 “second-hand” cars, including four models of Innova, two models of Verna, and one each of Fortuner, Swift, Ertiga, Alto, Polo and Ritz.
The vehicles were seized from different buyers in Pune, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Goa, Satara, Ahmednagar, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Ale Phata, police added.
According to Senior Inspector Uttam Tangade, they got a tip-off that a garage on the road connecting Bhakti Shakti Chowk and Mukti Chowk is hoarding old car engines and has two cars parked in front, which appear to be stolen.
“Acting on this information, a team started monitoring activities in and around the garage. After we were convinced of some suspicious activities, we raided the place on January 26 and found a number of car engines and other spare parts. Also, we found that an Innova had the registration number of Maharashtra but the engine’s details showed that the car was booked in Punjab. This showed that the registration and chassis numbers were illegally changed,” Tangade said.
Tangade added, “The modus operandi of the accused was to buy scrap cars damaged in accidents from insurance firms at a cheap rate. Then they would do reconnaissance in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and find cars of the same model and colour and steal them. Singh would travel to Delhi by air and return to Pune in a stolen car. The registration and chassis numbers of the stolen cars would then be replaced with those of the scrap cars, after which they would be sold for Rs 10 to 18 lakh. The seized cars are valued at about Rs 2.19 crore.”
Police said the investigation was on and it was possible that more vehicles will be recovered.
Singh, who lives on S P Patil Road in Ravet, has been booked under sections pertaining to theft, stolen property, cheating, forgery and others of the Indian Penal Code.
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