Six members of the ‘tadpatri (tarpaulin) gang’ who had looted a truck and attacked two police vans on the highway near Vadodara, were arrested by the Vadodara Crime branch following an investigation into the case registered on February 4, police said on Tuesday.
Three other members of the gang are still on the run, including the driver of the truck, police added.
The arrested accused include Moosa Arkha, who has nine cases of loot against him in Vadodara, Surat, Narmada and Panchmahals districts; Zuber Arkha, with three cases against him including one under charges of attempt to murder; Mehboob Chandaliya, who leads the gang; Mukesh Nayak, Ambubhai Nayak and Husaain Hayat — all natives of different villages in Godhra.
According to the police, the gang mostly targeted goods’ trucks parked on the highway during early morning hours. The accused had kept fake registration number plates to evade detection. The police has recovered items worth Rs 24 lakh from their possession.
“Three teams were formed to nab the accused. We thoroughly checked CCTV footage and used human intelligence to first identify the accused and then arrest them. The accused were also wanted in two other cases of loot, we are expecting more cases to come to light. The gang has been operating for many years and is one of the most notorious ones operating from Godhra,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Jaydeepsinh Jadeja.
On February 4, the Vadodara police had booked the then unidentified accused for allegedly looting the truck carrying cashew, arecanut and textile material and for vandalising two police vans on the highway.
The looted truck was travelling from Karnataka to unload consignments in Maharashtra and Surat. Police on a patrol van from Makarpura, had seen the accused transferring goods from one truck to another near Jambuva on National Highway (NH) 48.
When the policemen approached them, the men immediately boarded the truck, rammed it into the police van parked behind it, threw stones at the policemen and tried to flee.
The policemen, along with another PCR van, chased the truck and it then rammed into the second PCR van.
The truck driver managed to escape to Dabhoi.
As per the truck driver’s complaint, the looted items were worth Rs 8,66,553.
In two separate FIRs filed by the police and driver of the looted truck from Karnataka, the accused were booked under IPC sections 379 (Theft), 307 (Attempt to murder), 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 114 (Abettor present), as well as under relevant sections of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The court has granted five days remand to all the accused in the case.
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