VACB team buys more than 20 vehicles as part of probe

A Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) team has said it found out that several vehicle dealers wrung extra money from their clients under the pretext of “pre-delivery inspection” charges.

The team led by Dy.SP R.D. Ajith Kumar reported to the agency’s directorate on Thursday that the phrase was a euphemism for the extra money collected illegally from customers to pay as commission to a set of corrupt Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) officials in reciprocation for “smoothening the process” of getting road worthiness certificate for vehicles to facilitate quick registration.

The money thus collected was at least 10 times the government fees for getting the road worthiness of new vehicles checked by MVD officials and issuance of RC books.

A set of middlemen facilitated the racket. The VACB detained three of them and confiscated nearly Rs.20,000 and scores of documents from them.

Investigators said they had brought more than 20 vehicles, mostly two-wheelers, autorickshaws, pick-ups, and medium commercial vehicles, for road worthiness inspection from their respective showrooms without any written authorisation. The inspection was mostly on paper and the Motor Vehicle Inspectors had issued the vehicles fitness certificate without any inspection.

The same racket was also engaged in fixing fitness certificates for already registered commercial vehicles, including buses of educational institutions.

SP E. Sherifudeen ordered the inspection. Circle Inspectors S. Rabaiyaat and R. Vinod Kumar were part of the team.