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Five of vehicle theft gang held
- Cops pose as buyers of stolen cars, recover Bolero

Malda, Nov. 9: Posing as prospective buyers of stolen cars, a Malda police team arrested five members of an inter-state gang and recovered a Bolero lifted from Nagpur.

Two of the accused, Rajendra Paswan and Gopal Mondol, were from Kishanganj in Bihar. Paswan has confessed to the police that he was an “active” member of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. The other three, Abdul Matin, Mohammad Halim and Azarul Sheikh, are residents of Chakulia in North Dinajpur but had earlier lived in Harischandrapur in Malda, said Satyajit Banerjee, the district police chief.

In recent years, Kishnganj and Purnea in Bihar have become the hub of an inter-state theft of stolen cars, most of which were high-end models. “The gang members have confessed to us that they had sold more than 200 stolen cars in the past five years — 10 of them were sold to clients in Malda district — each priced around Rs 2.5 lakh,” Banerjee said at a news conference here today.

The district police chief was full of praise for the Englishbazar inspector-in-charge, Bipul Majumdar, and his team of five officers for apprehending the gang members. “It was mainly because of their efforts that we could arrest the criminals. We are going to reward the policemen who have shown bravery and presence of mind in the operation,” Banerjee said.

Majumdar said he expected to seize some more stolen cars in the next few days. For the past weeks he had been in contact with the gang members, expressing his desire to get his hands on a car at a cheaper price.

“I had struck a deal with them that I would buy a Bolero for Rs 2.5 lakh from them and the delivery of the car would take place in Malda,” Majumdar said. After that, he and the other officers had posed as businessmen from Calcutta.

Last night, a rendezvous was fixed at Jadupur, about 20km from here. As soon as they arrived at the spot with the Bolero, the police officials swooped down on them. After a minor scuffle, the car racketeers were arrested before they could flee.

“These people change the number plates of the stolen cars and sell them to buyers at half the price of the new ones. They have fake registration and other papers ready to hand them over to the buyers. We are investigating if unscrupulous people from the motor vehicles department and insurance companies are also in league with the gang,” the district police chief said.

“We have also come to know about Santosh Singh, a car mechanic in Kishanganj, and have informed the Bihar police.”

As people from other state are involved in the case, the police officials are considering handing over it to the CID, Banerjee said.

The inspector-in-charge of the Kishanganj police station, S.K. Singh, thanked his Englishbazar counterpart for the “excellent job”.

“We also had information about Paswan’s involvement in the racket but could not get hold of any proof. The Malda police have pulled off an excellent job. We are trying our best to round up the entire gang,” Singh said.

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