Cases against the car spark gang continue to come to the fore. In yet another complaint, a Pune-based government employee was conned by the notorious gang on the Eastern Express Highway. However, he made a video of one of the gang members and later registered a first information report (FIR) with Sion police station.

(From left) Tahir Noor Sheikh (27), Zakirhussain Samsuddin Sheikh (31), Zahid Sheikh (24), Abdul Latif Sayyed (41), and Rajesh Durge (42), the accused members of the car spark gang
(From left) Tahir Noor Sheikh (27), Zakirhussain Samsuddin Sheikh (31), Zahid Sheikh (24), Abdul Latif Sayyed (41), and Rajesh Durge (42), the accused members of the car spark gang

Ajay Purohit (42) is a government employee and a resident of Pune. He visits Mumbai frequently and on January 2, he was going back home to Pune from Mumbai, with his two young children. Speaking to mid-day, he said, “Near Sion railway station, a man hit my bonnet and signaled something. I couldn’t understand it and kept driving.”

A little ahead, another man hit his car’s bonnet and told him it was shooting sparks. “I got a little scared that there is some problem with my car. I stopped my car further ahead and another man standing near a tempo pointed at my bonnet and said he could see sparks emitting from it. I was worried because I had my children with me and I had to go all the way to Pune. I couldn’t take any chance,” he recalled.

Mohammad Naseer Sheikh (28), who pretended to be the mechanic
Mohammad Naseer Sheikh (28), who pretended to be the mechanic

The third accused brought a ‘mechanic’ who made a show of doing some work with the car. Later, he demanded Rs 23,500 for his ‘services’. Since Purohit didn’t have this sum with him, the accused took him to a nearby ATM from where he withdrew the money and handed it over to them. “The safety of my kids comes first.”

mid-day’s report on the gang
mid-day’s report on the gang

Caught on cam
However, Purohit had begun to sense something was amiss. “I asked the mechanic where he was from and he said Kolhapur. I know Kolhapur and asked him which part of the city he was from, and he said Wardha. Now Wardha is near Nagpur. When I asked his name, he told me it was Raju Shrivastav,” Purohit said.

The alert man recorded his conversation with the fraud on his mobile phone camera, and later showed it to his mechanic in Pune, who told him he had been taken for a ride. Purohit then went to Sion police station and registered an FIR a couple of days later. “The gang is very dangerous.

My friends said I was lucky they did not attack and extort money from me. I wonder if the gang targets any woman travelling alone; this can be dangerous,” he added. mid-day has carried a series of reports on the gang’s activities and the subsequent arrests made by the Mumbai police.

The Crime Branch have till now arrested Tahir Noor Sheikh (27), Zakirhussain Samsuddin Sheikh (31), Zahid Sheikh (24), Abdul Latif Sayyed (41), and Rajesh Durge (42). Another accused, Mohammad Naseer Sheikh (28), was arrested by the Dongri police last week.

He is the person who would pose as the mechanic who would ‘fix’ the car spark and convince the victims by giving them technical reasons for the fault; it was Sheikh who spoke to Purohit. Dongri police were the first to record a cheating case against the gang. This FIR was registered by an Income Tax department employee, Premkumar Shelke.