Mumbai Crime: Car conman smoked out of hiding at Mahim dargah

Updated: Dec 18, 2016, 12:39 IST | Asif Rizvi

41-year-old used to pose as a mechanic, stop motorists saying their bonnet was on fire and take money from them to ‘replace parts’; had been absconding for a year

Arif Shaikh, the accused
Arif Shaikh, the accused

A 41-year-old man, who used to con car owners after stopping them with a warning of smoke coming out of their cars, was arrested from Mahim on Tuesday.

Arif Shaikh was on the run for more than a year and was finally caught when he visited the dargah at Mahim. He has been remanded in police custody.

A complaint against Shaikh was filed on October 3, 2015, by a victim identified as Anand Malkhiya, who had complained to the police that Shaikh had stopped him near the Gulati petrol pump junction at Bandra (West), told him there was smoke coming out of the hood and that it required urgent attention. Shaikh then introduced himself as a professional mechanic and pretended to check the car. He told Malkhiya that a few parts needed to be replaced immediately and he could do it for a price less than what other mechanics would charge, the police said.

“He then took Rs 25,000 in cash and after some time told Malkhiya his car was now fit as he had replaced the parts. The following day the complainant took the car to a garage where the mechanics there told him that nothing had been changed. Malkhiya immediately lodged an FIR against Shaikh. We were looking for him for more than a year,” said a police officer from Bandra.

Recently, the police received information that Shaikh visited the Mahim Dargah regularly. “We laid traps a few times but he never turned up. Finally, on Eid e Milad, we received a tip-off that he would be coming there the next day and managed to catch him,” the officer said. The cops are now contacting other police stations to identify more cases against Arif.

Senior inspector Pandit Thackeray of Bandra police station said, “People should avoid falling prey to such people and should not leave their cars with strangers.”

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