Elderly auto-lifting mastermind arrested

A 73-year-old lawyer has been arrested for being the alleged mastermind of over 90 cases of motor vehicle theft and forgery in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan over the past five decades, police said on Friday.

Dhani Ram Mittal of Haryana’s Sonipat district started committing crime in Rohtak district in 1964. He is an LLB from Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan in 1970 and returned to practice at a Rohtak court.

“He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Vaish College in Rohtak, and a diploma in handwriting and graphology from Kolkata,” said Dr P Karunakaran, additional deputy commissioner of police (outer).

Dhani, however, landed in police net on Thursday after a tip-off that a notorious cheat and an auto-lifter would be coming to Rohini aector 3 with a stolen car.

“Acting on this information, a team was constituted and barricades were put up near M2K cinema complex. Around 12:10 pm, a Maruti Zen car was stopped for checking and Dhani, who was driving the car, was apprehended,” Karunakaran added.

Dhani confessed that he had stolen the car from Paschim Vihar around 20 days ago.

Accordingly, he was arrested under section 41.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and a motorcycle stolen from Rohini was also recovered on his instance.

He told police that he used to do a recce at parking lots near court complexes in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan.

“He used to target old cars and took them with the help of master keys. He usually parked his car near the targeted car. If caught red handed, he used to make excuses on the pretext of his old age and show the car already parked by him,” Karunakaran said.

Dhani had an access to local RTOs through touts, so he used to sell the stolen vehicles after preparing required documents. He used to get photocopies of registration certificates and then forged signatures of licensing officials with skills obtained through handwriting diploma.

In late 1970s, he had also forged an order for compulsory leave for a district judge at Jhajjar. He then prepared a forged appointment letter for himself and presided over the court for 40 days before his bluff was called, though this is still being verified.

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