Thieves seem to have found a novel way of making more money by stealing silencers of four wheelers and the Maruti Eeco Vans have turned out to be their favourites owing to the presence of expensive metal dust like Rhodium, Palladium and Platinum.
Alarmed by the sudden rise in cases involving theft of silencers, especially from Eeco Vans in the Vasai-Nallasopara belt, senior officials from the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate deputed the crime branch unit to conduct a parallel probe and apprehend the culprits.
Subsequently, a team led by Police Inspector Pramod Badhak under the supervision of DCP (Crime) Dr. Mahesh Patil activated their core informer network and intensified their technical surveillance apparatus in and around the region.
Based on a specific tip-off, the crime branch unit zeroed in on the accused identified as Yusuf Rafik Shaikh, a 40-year old garage owner from Kalyan, and his accomplice Salman Shaikh (24), a resident of Bhiwandi.
Investigations revealed that the duo used to target silencers of Maruti Eeco Vans for the catalytic converters in their exhaust system installed by the manufacturing company in order to meet emission standards. Later,they would extract platinum, rhodium and palladium metal dust from the silencer and sell them off to a Mumbai-based person.
After rounds of sustained interrogation, the duo confessed to their involvement in a spate of silencer thefts in Tulinj, Manekpur, Vasai, Naupada and also in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai.
Apart from the higher amount of expensive metal dust, another reason the thieves targetted Maruti Eeco Vans was because of the fact that the silencer fitted in this vehicle was easier to detach.
Metal dust and an Eeco Van worth Rs. 3.30 lakh has been recovered from the possession of the duo who have been remanded to custody. While further investigations were underway an under section 379 of the IPC has been registered against the duo at the Tulinj police station in Nallasopara.