Chandigarh, March 10 : Seven constables of Punjab Police have been arrested in connection with a car theft racket, disclosed a Chandigarh police official here Friday. The Chandigarh cops arrested the seven Punjab police personnel and two of their civilian accomplices over the week, said senior superintendent of Chandigarh police (operations) Dinesh Bhatt.
At least 11 cars were recovered from their possession, he said, adding more arrests and recoveries were likely as the present seizure was "only the tip of the iceberg". Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, Bhatt said the Punjab police personnel were giving "protection" to the entire car-theft racket by using their official position and keeping the stolen cars in their possession before selling them to customers.
The cars used to be stolen from all over Punjab, fake registration papers and sale invoices made and the vehicles sold to unsuspecting customers. In a couple of cases, the police personnel even got new and genuine registration numbers for the vehicles through fake invoices.
This was done with the help of their two civilian accomplices and the connivance of transport wing officials. The racket came to light when the local police arrested constable Harminder Singh driving a Tata Indica car with fake papers here. The arrest was made after a tip-off.
His interrogation led to the arrest of the other Punjab police personnel – some of whom were posted as personal security officers with VIPs – for their involvement in the racket. During interrogation, the policemen said they worked in modules to avoid suspicion.
A Mumbai-based truck driver had got most of the arrested policemen into the racket, alluring them by letting them keep the stolen cars in their possession "for safety" till the fake papers were made and the vehicles sold. The racket had been going on for over eight months. The Chandigarh police have not yet arrested the thieves who stole the cars.