Mumbai Crime: Cops defuse the 'car spark' gang

Days after mid-day reported on the gang which fooled people into paying money for ‘repairs’ by telling them sparks were flying off their car, police have arrested five people; accused confessed to having conned over 50 people

Days after this paper reported on the ‘car spark’ gang, which cheated people into paying money for repairing a ‘defect’ causing ‘sparks’ to emit from their cars’ bonnets, the group was busted.

The Property Cell of the Crime Branch arrested five members of the gang, who confessed to having cheated over 50 people. The gang had a unique modus operandi, in which they targeted people driving alone. The members would station themselves at signals or speed breakers at regular intervals.

mid-day’s March 2 report
mid-day’s March 2 report

The first person on the stretch would motion to a motorist when the car slowed down, and tell him/her that sparks could be seen flying from his bonnet. Should the driver ignore this ‘warning’, the second person on the route would repeat the same thing.

The worried driver would stop his/her vehicle, after which another gang member would pose as a mechanic and pretend to repair the car, while asking the driver to sit inside the car. The gang would then fleece the driver by charging an atrocious sum for the ‘work’, to the tune of Rs 10,000.

Cops were burking?
The accused were identified as Tahir Noor Sheikh (27), a resident of Shivaji Nagar, Zakirhussain Samsuddin Sheikh (31), Zahid Sheikh (24), Abdul Latif Sayyed (41), all from Govandi, and Rajesh Durge (42), of Trombay.

The accused confessed they have committed this crime over 50 times, but most of these cases had not been registered either because the police sent back the victim by only registering a non-cognisable offence, or because the victim simply didn’t bother going to the police. A police officer said, “It is very serious as the gang was operating on a huge scale.

If some woman had been driving alone, it would have been a threat to her life. The gang smartly fooled several people.” Nandkumar Gopale, senior police inspector, Property Cell, Crime Branch, said, “I request more people to come forward and register an FIR against the gang. This will help us make a stronger case against the accused.

The gang has confessed to over 50 cases. Further investigations are on.” Cases in Dongri and Sion police stations have now been opened. Roshan Jaiswal, a professor at Bandra-based college who was one of the victims, said, “I am very thankful to mid-day, because of which cops took notice and arrested the gang members.

The police called me to identify the gang members. This is very serious as this gang can potentially kill motorists driving alone.” Jaiswal identified 2-3 people among those arrested. Police are on the lookout for other members of the gang.

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  • Ajay Tole05-Mar-2015

    In response to the report on Mumbai Crime "Car Spark" gang

  • Julian T05-Mar-2015

    Faced this situation in May 2009 at a signal in Chembur when I was relocating. My car was loaded with stuff that we were carting and my young daughter and wife were travelling with me. Happened before Akbarallys. Fortunately did not roll down my window, nor speak to the guy who kept banging my car bonnet, maintained my cool as I was pretty sure there was no smoke smell in the car cabin. Drove about 4--5 kms away and stopped near a large petrol pump and checked to find all was well.

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