Tinsukia/Guwahati: In a major breakthrough, the Special Investigating Team (SIT) of West Garo Hills police has busted an inter-state gang of bike lifters and recovered 54 stolen motorcycles from their possession, which were kept at different locations in Meghalaya and Assam.
Altogether 21 persons, including two from Assam, have been arrested in connection with the case so far.
The development comes in the backdrop of a series of incidents of bike theft in Garo Hills area, with citizens taking to Twitter to seek immediate attention and help from police.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma tweeted: “Dacoits from different areas tried to indulge in criminal activities to jeopardize the peace in Meghalaya but @wghpolice nabbed 17 dacoits & recovered 45 bikes & 17 mobile phones in a well-synchronized operation @MeghalayaPolice @lrbishnoiips”
“A common feature that came to light during the investigation of all these cases is that the local residents of the district are purchasing second-hand bikes as well as selling or exchanging their bikes without proper documentation and without obtaining the vehicle-inquiry report from police. Some persons have even purchased vehicles from online markets like OLX, Facebook, etc. through which these stolen vehicles were advertised and sold,” superintendent of WGH police V S Rathore said.
Rathore said during the course of the investigation it has come to the fore that in order to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies, the registration certificates, engine numbers, and chassis numbers of most of these vehicles were tampered with.
On July 4, a special investigating team (SIT) under the supervision of Rathore was constituted following reports of repeated theft cases in the Garo Hills area.
Rathore said that based on inputs from sources and a thorough investigation, the SIT succeeded in busting the gang.
“The examination of 17 mobile phones and other incriminating materials recovered from the possession of the arrested persons during the operation reveals beyond doubt an inter-state connection,” Rathore said, adding, “We have been able to solve six cases of theft from Assam and four cases from Meghalaya.”
Advising residents, Rathore said that before purchase or sale of vehicles, police clearance must be obtained in order to avoid unnecessary hassle. “Vehicle owner is liable for legal action if any vehicle is found to be stolen or person concerned is indulged in any criminal offence, road traffic accident etc,” he added.
L R Bishnoi, Director general of Meghalaya police, said, “On a subsequent operation that were conducted over the last 24 hours, 4 more accused have been arrested and 9 vehicles recovered, taking the tally of those arrested to 21 and bikes recovered to 54.”
“We shall shortly issue an advisory for local residents through each police station to “sanitise” them regarding dos and don’ts while purchasing or selling a second-hand vehicle,” he said.
Bishnoi said, “We shall be organizing a weekly awareness programme under every police station to create awareness among residents related to various criminal activities, including crime against women, drug trafficking and so on.”
Of the vehicles recovered, 11 were from Rajabala, 12 from Jengjal, 2 from Tura, 7 from Bongaigaon and 13 from Dadenggre.
On June 24, a Twitter user by the name BihariBabuLLB tweeted: @Police_SWGH @CMO_Meghalaya @SangmaConrad @lrbishnoiips Taking advantage of load shedding, dacoits again entered Garobadha at midnight.People are scared, we have already seen what those Dacoits do..People have lost their hard-earned money and few have died.
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