In less than a fortnight since the first lead, Jharkhand Police have recovered 78 stolen motorbikes in East Singhbhum district and arrested five accused, police said Wednesday. According to the police, the accused conned people residing in rural areas, mostly daily wage workers, by luring them to buy stolen two-wheelers as second-hand bikes.
The incident came to light after one Vikas Patro, 23, was arrested by the police on July 27 who had stolen a bike from Dhemang Bazaar in Kowali area. Police said based on Patro’s lead they arrested four others, including the alleged mastermind Mohammad Azharuddin.
East Singhbhum Senior Superintendent of Police Prabhat Kumar said they had formed a team to look into motorbike thefts which were lately on the rise.
“This is one of the biggest recoveries. We have also recovered two engines whose parts were sold. One Mohammad Azharuddin, 30, is the mastermind of the gang that used to sell motorbikes for anywhere between Rs 10,000 and 25,000. More recoveries and arrests are expected.”
Police said Azharuddin, who sometimes worked as a mobile-repair person, had got a motorbike in dowry, but he sold it for want of money. When he realised his in-laws’ family will ask about the two-wheeler, he devised a plan to have one, police said.
Musabani DSP Chandrashekhar Azad said: “He devised a plan…stole a bike of the make he had owned and faked it as his own by changing the registration number. Convinced that he can get away with it, he started stealing bikes from Dumaria, Musabani, Potka and Ghatshila areas. Besides sale, he would mortgage a bike citing requirement of money. People believed him as they had seen him riding a bike, and he would show them papers, too. He even paid interest on the sum he would take as loan against the two-wheeler.”
Azad said he soon expanded his network by roping in more people, including Patro, Mokro Hansda, Hare Krishna Gop, and Akram Khan.
Azad said: “Most among those who bought the two-wheelers from the accused were daily wage earners and skilled labourers. They have suffered losses…they didn’t know about the murky deals they were entering into.”