Mumbai Crime: Four held for rigging meters in auto rickshaws

Published: Sep 28, 2019, 15:04 IST | Suraj Ojha | Mumbai

The crime branch cops have examined over 1,000 auto rickshaws and taxis plying in the city to ascertain if their meters were rigged, sources say.

Amin Ramzan Pathan. Pics/ Suraj Ojha
Amin Ramzan Pathan. Pics/ Suraj Ojha

After mid-day's ongoing campaign against errant drivers, the crime branch of Mumbai police has intensified its crackdown on erring taxis and autos. The city crime branch arrested four people including drivers and mechanics, who rigged them to make a quick buck.

Sources told mid-day that crime branch sleuths examined over 1,000 auto-rickshaws and taxis plying in the city to ascertain if their meters were rigged. They have requested commuters to approach Mumbai police if they feel they have been charged exorbitantly when traveling by public transport. 

Action after mid-day campaign

autoThe meter tempering switch

This initiative was taken after mid-day's ongoing campaign against errant drivers or those who charge exorbitant fares from commuters was launched. After a series of stories in mid-day, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) took cognisance and caught more than 8,000 errant auto-rickshaw drivers, between February 26 and July 31.

autoThe meter tempering switch

DCP (Detection) Akbar Pathan said, "We had received many complaints about meter tampering by auto drivers and we asked our units in-charge to work on them. Later a Bandra unit constable, Rajendra Pednekar, received information and we detained two autorickshaw drivers on suspicion. We then called the experts who checked and confirmed that their autos had rigged meters." 

The arrested were identified by the police as Jaqir Yusuf Jahagirdar (45) and Sanjay Sherkar (22) who work as drivers; and Amin Ramzan Pathan (23) and Mohammad Bilal Faqir Mohammad Mansur (45) who work as mechanics.

autoMohammad Bilal Faqir Mohammad Mansur

An officer from the crime branch said, "All the six units have kept watch. The special drive initiated by the crime branch, is being conducted especially at Kurla (Lokmanya Tilak Terminus), Ghatkopar, Mulund, Chembur, Andheri, Bandra (infamous for notorious auto drivers) and Borivli."

Also Read: Mumbai: Auto-rickshaws all over the place at Borivli and Bandra station

‘Confessed to rigging meters’

auto

The wires that are used to connect the button

Another officer added, "The arrested mechanics have revealed that they rigged meters in many auto rickshaws. In the western suburbs over 100 autorickshaws ply with tampered meters." Another officer said that although they have a list of 100 autorickshaws with tampered meters, there are around 1,000 autos and taxis with tampered meters." A special team has been formed under the supervision of Senior Inspector Mahesh Desai to identify public transport modes with tampered meters. An officer added that RTO officials are supporting them in the ambitious drive.

 How drivers dupe passengers

Modus Operandi

auto

Jaqir Yusuf Jahagirdar

Some autorickshaw drivers install a hidden button near the steering to speed up the meter for the fare go to high. Mechanics charge Rs 5000 to install the hidden button connected to the meter and the wire costs Rs 120.

How they evade checks

auto

Sanjay Sherkar

Autorickshaw and taxi drivers are said to have a good network in the city and when they see authorities like RTO officials in some places, they inform other drivers to take a detour and avoid the spot. The system with the hidden button is very easy to uninstall and some drivers know how to do it. "We have enough inputs regarding such vehicles but we have a space crunch. Initially we have seized two autos but if we start catching violators, we won’t have space to park their vehicles. We are searching for a spacious ground where we can park such vehicles," said an officer.

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