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Dacoits who robbed, thrashed drivers, arrested

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
By Dev Kotak

Crime Branch busts 4 after vehicle theft complaints increased

Sleuths from Mumbai Police's Crime Branch busted a notorious gang and arrested four persons in connection with cases of vehicle theft. According to Mumbai Police sources, the members of the gang would intercept trucks and lorries loaded with materials, beat up the driver and drive off with the vehicle.

The Crime Branch team began probing after they received a case of vehicle theft, which helped them arrest those involved in committing robbery and dacoity, and unearth a larger crime in which the police has been looking to make arrests for quite some time now.    

A list of suspects and those whose names had appeared in old cases of vehicle theft was prepared and names of two accused came up. Two different dacoity cases were registered on August 21 and September 3.

Hazratali Fakhruddin Khan (32) and Ayubali Masoomali Sheikh alias Guddu, an electrician (42), were rounded up and they confessed to stealing 9 vehicles (worth Rs 25 lakh) from Mumbai, Thane and Vapi (Gujarat), all of which are now in possession of the cops.

Meanwhile, the cops are on the lookout for wanted accused and mastermind Wasim Ahmed Bashir Ahmed Sheikh.

While all the other wanted accused were being searched for, one accused Mohsin Ashraf Baloch's records of past cases and criminal history surfaced. Baloch's name came up in a dacoity case where he had used a white Maruti Swift car to commit the crime. The police officials from the property cell were tipped-off about his arrival in Jogeshwari. A trap to nab him was laid in Jogeshwari, Link Road and Shiv Tekdi and he finally landed in the police net. But another accused Sheikh ran away from the spot.

Baloch told the cops names of the other gang members who have been involved in crimes. When the records of the others were checked, they had cases of dacoity registered against them in Waliv and Virar police station. It was established that they looted a lorry on the highway in which 31 tonnes of copper wire, valued at Rs 1.81 crore was looted and sold (for a mere Rs 25 lakh) in Rajkot and Surendranagar (Gujarat). The police managed to successfully recover the stolen copper.       

The copper that was stolen from Taloja-based Copper India (Hindustan Copper Ltd) was looted after the gang intercepted the lorry that had the materials and beat up the driver.

“These lorry trailers would be stolen and be driven to a distance, until waiting accomplices would change the horse of the vehicle and attach their own to the trailer before abandoning it on the highway and crossing the border into Rajasthan or Gujarat. The horse (which had GPS attached) and the trailer would both be changed to avoid arousing any suspicion. The four accused also kept changing sim cards to avoid location tracing. They observed that the lorries coming out of the copper company premises had weak security and they took advantage of that. Also, Baloch had a copper business and knew how to create fake bills. So that helped in case if he was stopped at highways while making off with the stolen materials,” said Dilip Sawant, DCP-Crime.

As for the accused who ran away (Sheikh), information on him arriving in Nagpada was received and he was trapped and taken into custody on September 10.
The property cell solved the two dacoity cases registered at Waliv and Virar police station and two motor vehicles used to commit the crime were recovered. There are close to 13 vehicle theft cases against Sheikh in Matunga, Vile Parle, Deonar and Dadar police station, and seven cases of dacoity in Virar police station.   
The 29-year-old Sheikh, who hails from Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh, has been engaged in vehicle theft since 2009.  

A FIR was registered against the four accused and they have been booked under Sections 379 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

The duo – Baloch and Sheikh – have been arrested and the police have been granted their custody till September 17. Meanwhile, Khan and Aftej are in Waliv police's custody.

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