#Special26InRealLife: Mumbai Police bust gang of fake I-T officers
In a major development, the Mumbai police have arrested five members of a gang who posed as income tax officers and targeted wealthy homes with unaccounted cash and jewellery. They had earlier conducted fake raids at a Santacruz businessman's apartment, and at a residence in Kashimira. Notably, police say that the gang was inspired by the Bollywood movie 'Special 26'. Here's more.
What we know about the gang and their modus operandi
The five who have been arrested - Fiaz Kazi (48), Manav Singh (19), Sohaib Munshi (19), Salim Ansari (21), and Imran Ali (25) - were all school dropouts. Their modus operandi involved scouting for luxurious cars in parking lots of housing societies. They would then identify the owner, stake out the place, learn residents' schedules, and conduct their fake raids to seize valuables.
The Santacruz incident was start of the gang's demise
Akin to the film, where a group posing as CBI officers execute a fake income tax raid on a jeweller, the gang had raided a Santacruz businessman's house in hopes of stealing jewellery in July. However, after the businessman's wife produced VAT and GST bills, the gang left after asking her to pay a small fine. Suspecting foul play, she filed a police complaint.
The woman recounts her experience with the gang
"They flashed their ID cards and identified themselves as I-T officials. They also showed a search warrant, so I let them in...I showed them the jewellery and even the bills, but they insisted on seizing them...I protested and started yelling," said the woman.
How the police identified the gang members
Based on the woman's complaint, a sketch was made of the mastermind, Kazi, and DCP Paramjit Singh Dahiya formed a team of Santacruz police to nab the gang. The team got details of the accused from their counterparts at the Kashimira police station, who had busted a gang in August that operated with the same modus operandi.
How police finally nabbed the gang
The efforts by the Santacruz police paid off after Thane rural police arrested Kazi in connection with another fake raid conducted in Kashmira in early August. In that fake raid, the gang stole Rs. 4 lakh in cash and jewellery from a realtor's house. Santacruz police then matched Kazi's sketch with the Kashimira police's photo of Kazi. Finally, the gang's luck ran out.