KARACHI: Brand new vehicles, particularly four-by-fours, snatched from different parts of the metropolis over the years were taken to Balochistan and given out on rent to major oil and gas exploration companies through an intermediary, it emerged on Monday.
Sources said that provincial authorities approached the Balochistan and federal governments as well as the firms concerned asking them to provide documentary record of the vehicles they used on contract/ rent during the past five years.
The firms include Oil and Gas Development Corporation Ltd (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), Thobo gas field and other gas companies situated in Sui, Dera Bugti.
The sources said that the Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell (AVLC), Karachi, would analyse the record as it was investigating the issue that had surfaced following the recent arrest of suspected carjacker Manzoor Ahmed alias Bafo Bugti within the remit of the Shahrah-i-Noor Jehan police station.
Investigators seek five-year record of all vehicles used by OGDCL, PPL in Sui on rent
“During the course of interrogation, he disclosed that he along with his accomplices snatched vehicles specially Revo, Vigo and other brand new cars from Karachi and moved them to Sui in district Dera Bugti where he sold these vehicles to different buyers,” AVLC SSP Bashir Ahmed Brohi stated in a letter written to Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar.
He told the investigators that he and his other accomplices were involved in snatching of almost all Revo/Vigo vehicles in Karachi between 2018 and 2021.
He said that the engine and chassis numbers of the snatched vehicles were punched and tempered and the same were sold after making forged documents. “The same vehicles were given to OGDCL and PPL on rent/contract on a monthly basis,” the SSP stated while quoting the disclosures of suspect Bafo Bugti.
“Furthermore, those vehicles are reportedly handed over to security personnel providing security to the OGDCL/PPL employees working in district Dera Bugti,” reads the letter.
The sources said that IGP Mahar approached the Sindh home department, which in turn wrote letters to the Balochistan home department, Islamabad chief commissioner Islamabad, OGDCL, PPL headquarters seeking “data of all vehicles obtained on rent/contract basis for five years (January 2017 to Oct 8, 2021) in district Dera Bugti”.
12-member gang operating in Karachi
Official sources said that held suspect Bafo Bugti was part of a 12-member gang of carjackers. These members work in two groups to snatch new cars from the metropolis.
He told the investigators that their meeting point was in Kandhkot where they collect all things like number plates, jammers and weapons etc. They left the place in the night in a car and concealed their weapons inside the car’s doors so that police could not arrest them during checking.
From Kandhkot, they travel to Ghauspur, Shikarpur, Sukkur or Larkana and Hyderabad and enter Karachi in the morning and snatch vehicles like Revo, Vigo and Corolla in Sohrab Goth or Sachal areas.
The interrogation report of the suspect revealed that their favourite spots were Gulistan-i-Jauhar (Perfume Chowk, 786 medical store, Continental Bakery, Darul Sihat hospital, Al-Jadeed Super Market), Safoora, Sachal, University Road, Gulshan-i-Iqbal (Mochi Mor, Needz superstore, Aladdin Park) and New Karachi.
He said the carjackers considered these spots/areas as ‘soft target’ from where they can escape easily towards highways.
Their modus operandi was to get hold on driver, held him hostage at gunpoint and activated the jammer to block signals of trackers fitted in their targeted vehicle.
According to the report, when they ensured that the jammer was working, they took the snatched vehicle to a street where they changed its number plate, left the hostage driver at a deserted place and escaped.
Four buyers identified
While travelling on Superhighway or National Highway, the suspect told the investigators that they met and handed over the vehicle to the buyer(s) from Dera Bugti at already decided place.
The sources said that four buyers, or their drivers, who purchased the snatched vehicles from highways had been identified.
They added that the suspects involved in changing engine and chassis numbers, preparing fake documents of the vehicles and changing its colour had also been identified.
The suspect told the investigators that he was a mechanic of old vehicles and had a shop in Bugti Colony of Sui.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2022