Pimpri Crime Branch busts inter-state vehicle theft racket, arrests two men

Two held; cases against key accused in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra.

The Crime Branch of Pimpri-Chinchwad Police on Wednesday said it busted a Rajasthan-based interstate gang involved in stealing four-wheelers, mainly sports utility vehicles (SUVs). As part of the operation, the police arrested two people and are on the hunt for two others, in addition to recovering six vehicles.

Following thefts of four-wheelers from Pimpri-Chinchwad and adjoining areas, a Crime Branch team led by Senior Inspector Uttam Tangade initiated a probe and checked CCTV footage from areas around the crime scenes as well as from cameras installed on the Pune-Mumbai Road and Pune-Nashik Road.

A press release stated that the investigation pointed to a gang from Rajasthan as being responsible for the thefts. Police said the stolen vehicles were later sold to racketeers involved in illegal liquor trade and smuggling of narcotics.

A Crime Branch team comprising Assistant Inspector Ganesh Patil and six personnel went to Rajasthan and, based on information obtained from sources, they apprehended Omprakash Laduram Bisnoi (28) at Ajmer while he was trying to escape to Haridwar on September 5. He was formally arrested on September 6 in connection with a vehicle theft case in Pimpri. The probe revealed that he and three accomplices stole at least 12 four-wheelers from Pune City, Pune Rural and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas.

One of the three accomplices was arrested by Gujarat Police. We have got his custodyfor further investigation. A search is on for the other two accomplices, said Tangade.

Meanwhile, following Bisnoi s interrogation, police recovered six vehicles worth Rs 1.13 crore. Police said a probe is also on regarding other vehicles stolen by the gang and later found to be used by narcotics traders in three separate offences lodged with different police stations in Rajasthan.

Police said Bisnoi has cases lodged against him in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra. He was arrested by Punjab police along with three others in 2011 for smuggling drugs. He was convicted and awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment. He was released from jail after serving a seven-year term. He was also arrested earlier by Rajasthan police for illegal transportation of liquor.

Police said Bisnoi and his accomplices were committing thefts of four-wheelers, scratching off the chassis and engine number using some instruments and selling them.

Meanwhile, the Pimpri police had arrested another gang of vehicle thieves in March 2019. The accused were selling the stolen vehicles to gangs in Puducherry and Punjab.