Stolen car set afire under cops' noses
Mumbai crime branch was on lookout for car in connection with multiple robberies; vehicle found abandoned in Vasai was brought to Bhabhola police chowky but was set ablaze in a bid to destroy evidence
An abandoned car, found in Vasai on Wednesday morning, turned out to be the vehicle the Mumbai crime branch was frantically looking for since over four months ago.
However, the vehicle, which was later towed by the Bhabhola police and parked behind the police chowky, was set afire in less than 24 hours, sending the cops in a tizzy. Over the last few months, the crime branch had been on the lookout for one Rupesh D’mello who is wanted in many robbery and theft cases all over the city. The burnt car was allegedly stolen by D’mello.
According to the police, a pedestrian found an abandoned car with a shattered windshield behind a garage on Bhabhola Bangli Road in Vasai around 7 am on Wednesday. The cops were alerted and, upon investigation, they found an iron rod, a sharp weapon used during housebreaking, two number plates with the same number (MH-04-PA 5612) and a number plate with ‘Police’ written on it, in the car.
All the items were confiscated and the car was towed and parked behind the Bhabhola police chowky. A case was registered at the Vasai police station. However, in less than 24 hours, the car was set afire by an unidentified person around 4 am yesterday. The incident came to light when one Ramsaran Yadav, who runs Sangam ice cream shop near Bhabhola police chowky, heard the loud noise of a tyre burst, as the car was set ablaze. There was no one in the police chowky at that time. Yadav informed the cops and a fire brigade was summoned. Till then, the vehicle had been charred beyond recognition.
Some sources are claiming police involvement in the blaze. On the other hand, Mumbai crime branch claims to have been looking for the car for investigations in various cases, including chain snatching. According to police, the modus operandi points towards D’mello who is known to steal bikes and cars, and later abandon them or set them afire. Three years ago, D’mello had set a stolen Maruti Zen on fire to erase evidence. Sources said that many young unemployed boys work for D’mello to earn quick money. He allegedly asks them to burn the vehicles.
Anil Sanbor, senior police inspector, Vasai police station, said, “The car was set afire to destroy the evidence. However, it has not affected the investigation in any way. Our probe will continue.”