Kozhikode: A gang of criminals, who kidnapped a fruit vendor and got away with his pick-up van after pretending to be officers of DANSAF (District Anti-Narcotic Special Action Force), were arrested here on Thursday.
The five-member gang comprising Shabeer VC alias Chala Babu (38), K Dhaneesh alias Kuttappi (30), Mohammed Marjan KM (31), PP Mohammed Shibin (34) and Salmanul Faris (21) was taken into custody by the Feroke Police and a special wing under Deputy Police Commissioner KE Baiju within a day of the crime.
The fruit vendor, who had returned from Karnataka with a load of watermelon, was intercepted by the gang. Three of them got into the van while two other followed on a bike claiming to be police officers.
They made him to drive to Horizon Hill near the 11th Mile at Ramanattukara, where they threatened to book him on false charges unless he paid Rs 1 lakh. Later, they brutally assaulted the vendor, robbed him and got away in his vehicle. The vendor was rescued by people of the locality who helped him file a complaint with the Feroke Police.
Crime committed to buy drugs
After taking the accused from custody, the cops recovered the stolen goods. The vehicle was found in a plot near Ramanattukara.
The police said Chala Babu is associated with notorious vehicle stealer Veerappan Raheem, who takes the name for his involvement with sandalwood theft. Babu attempted to resist the arrest by defending himself with an iron rod, the police said.
The accused planned to sell the van in Tamil Nadu to buy drugs. According to the police, all the accused are drug addicts.
Meanwhile, the police are also probing the complainant's track record to know if he's connected with drug dealers. The police team was led by Sub Inspector O Mohandas from the special action force, Sub Inspector Saifulla PT from Feroke Police and Sujith, Asstistant Sub Inspector from the special branch.