The stolen auto-rickshaws at Sukhdeonagar police station in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi police have arrested two members of a auto-lifting gang in the state capital and recovered as many as 16 vehicles stolen by them in the last eight months.
Rajesh Choudhary (30) and Lakshman Kumar Verma (20) were picked up from their residences at Sarovarnagar and Vidya Nagar on Monday afternoon during a raid conducted by Sukhdeonagar OC Randhir Kumar Singh.
Since both the areas fall in Sukhdeonagar, OC Singh was entrusted with the task of nabbing the duo. The operation to bust the gang started at 10am on Monday and continued for over 14 hours during which the stolen auto-rickshaws were recovered.
SP (city) Manoj Ratan on Tuesday confirmed the breakthrough and said, “The last member of the gang is absconding. A manhunt is on for him.”
Describing the gang’s modus operandi, Ratan said: “Verma used to lift autos while Choudhury used to modify the vehicle’s looks and in many cases, change its engine and chassis number too.”
Singh said that the vehicle was then sold off to customers for Rs 15,000.
As for the absconder’s role, Singh expressed his inability to disclose anything for the sake of investigation. “We will reveal his identity as well as his contribution in the theft once he is caught,” he added.
Eight autos were recovered from Choudhary’s garage and an equal number seized from different buyers at Kamde, Piska More and Indrapuri.
Around 50 owners whose vehicles had been stolen made a beeline outside Sukhdeonagar thana to identify theirs.
Six managed to identify their auto-rickshaws.