New Delhi: Delhi police had busted a gang from Bihar which had been involved in stealing a number of Sports Utility Vehicle (SUVs) from the capital and used to take them to Bihar for bootlegging in the dry state. The kingpin of the racket named Ashish Rai had been caught by a special team of the crime branch and he accepted that the gang used to send the stolen vehicles to Bihar for bootlegging and other illegal purposes. The police had confirmed that the gang was involved in the looting of three vehicles, a Creta and two Innova, in October only.

An official related to the case said: “They used to take the vehicle to Siwan where the number plate and registration etc were changed and then the vehicle was used in bootlegging and other illegal activities. The gang was involved in a spate of carjacking incidents in West, Rohini and South districts of the capital.”

It is well-known in intelligence and law enforcement circles that the capital is the epicentre of gangs from all over the country primarily the cow belt who operate in this illegal trade of vehicles. As per the recent Delhi police reports, approximately 4-5 vehicles are stolen from the capital every hour. A recent data shared by the Delhi police had revealed that between December 2020 and May 2021, roughly 15000-16000 cases of motor vehicle thefts have been reported from the capital. The gangs operating in Delhi take the vehicle to even the North-East and Nepal and sell them at reasonable prices. An ACP rank official from West District said: “Delhi has been the epicenter of these gangs. The capital is one of the richest cities in the world with people from all over India coming here, there is scarcity of space to park vehicles and moreover the security system is lacking in different parking areas or gated communities, the thief gangs take advantage of it and steal the vehicles. The gangs operating in Bihar have the advantage that they can easily sneak into Nepal and then it becomes impossible to trace the vehicle. These gangs generally sell the vehicle in remote areas as they get high prices for the vehicle. A vehicle like Endeavor or Fortuner which costs Rs 40 lakh is sold at a price of Rs 10-12 lakh in Nepal, the smaller vehicles are low in demand; a vehicle costing Rs 8-9 lakh is sold at a price of Rs 2-3 lakh in remote locations.”

In recent times, a few dreaded criminals from Bihar are lodged in Tihar jail, including Vikas Kaliya, who slipped from the much guarded Bhagalpur central jail in Bihar. The crime branch of Delhi police later arrested him from the capital in October 2019 and since then he has been lodged in Tihar.

Noted crime analyst Amitabh Kuwar said: “The relation between criminals from Bihar and Delhi is not new. Remember that even during the 1990s and early 2000s when crime was at its peak in Bihar, criminals like Anil Sharma used to take shelter in the capital and operate from here. Therefore, the Delhi police must go into deeper analysis whether an organized and deep rooted syndicate is involved or not.”