Three members of an inter-state gang of vehicle lifters active in the heart of the city were arrested on Monday.
Acting on a tip-off, a police team raided an automobile garage, located barely 100m from the Kankerbagh police station, and arrested Umesh Sharma, Shahnawaz and Chandan Rai. Seventeen vehicles, including some SUVs, were found in the garage.
The police conducted the raid on the basis of information gathered from one Guddu, another member of the gang who was arrested last week. Guddu is from Calcutta but has been living in Hajipur for quite some time.
Sources said Sharma was the owner of the garage, while Shahnawaz and Rai used to work there as mechanics.
The sources said the four persons allegedly used to bring stolen vehicles from various parts to the garage, dismantle those and changed the chassis and engine numbers before re-selling the cars.
"We are interrogating them about other members of the gang, their areas of operation and the modus operandi. We had received a tip-off from our counterparts in Mughalsarai about an SUV stolen from the Uttar Pradesh town and brought to Patna," an officer at the Kankerbagh police station said.
"The police team first raided the area in Hajipur where Guddu stayed and caught him. On the basis of information gathered from him, the team raided the garage near the Doctor's Colony area and arrested the three persons and found the SUV. It was about to be dismantled. The team found 17 more vehicles in the garage," the officer added.
Sources in the police said according to initial information, Sharma, the alleged kingpin of the gang, used to pay for the engine of any vehicle to the seller. "Though the amounts are not yet known, Sharma used to pay for the engine of a vehicle. He and his men used to dismantle the stolen vehicles and exchanged those for new parts. The gang was also in nexus with people involved in making fake vehicle documents," a source said.