Anand district police caught five members of a gang who have allegedly stolen silencers of 33 Maruti Eeco vans in the past 20 days in order to collect metal dust from them and sell them at high prices.
The accused have been identified as Asif alias Rupal Vohra, Irfan alias Gajni Vohra, Taufiq Pinjara, Firoz Vohra, and Vijay Thakor. All accused are residents on Ahmedabad.
The gang used to target Maruti Eeco Vans parked in markets or isolated places in Anand and Kheda districts for its silencers. Later, they would extract platinum, palladium and rhodium metal dust from the silencers and sell them off.
According to set emission standards in India, all motor vehicles have catalytic converter in their exhaust system in order to meet emission standards. A catalytic converter acts as a filter on the exhaust emission which reduces the emittance of pollutants from the vehicle’s engine through the process of catalyzing a redox reaction. Therefore the exhaust pipes have to necessarily have a surface area coated with platinum, rhodium and palladium (known as platinum group metals (PGM). When a vehicle gets old and defunct, the catalytic converter can be recycled and the metals can be recovered. A new vehicle has higher amounts of the metal dust.
“Of late, we were receiving several complaints of theft of silencers from Eeco Vans in Anand city and adjoining areas. The case was given to local crime branch who stumbled upon CCTV footages where an accused was seen arriving in a Fortuner car and stealing silencers from vans parked in areas,” Anand Rajian, superintendent of police, Anand.
“We arrested the gang and started interrogating them. They revealed the details of 33 vehicles which they had targeted in the past 20 days.
The reason they chose Maruti Eeco Vans only is because the silencer fitted in this vehicle is easier to detach and it has a higher amount of palladium,” he added.
“They sold off the metal dust as rhodium and palladium cost Rs 3,000 per gram in the market. We have booked them under sections of theft and cheating,” said Rajian.