Seized, unclaimed, stolen and disputed vehicles in possession of city police stations have become a burden not just on the Police Department but also on the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as they are being parked in playgrounds, parks.
In fact, the tussle between the two departments has reached a boiling point and the BBMP is now bringing the problem to the notice of the State’s Home Ministry.
Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana told The Hindu on Sunday that the palike will write to Home Minister K.J. George. “I inspected D.J. Halli and was surprised to see nearly 1,000 such vehicles parked on the main road. The same is the case near K.R. Market, Chamarajapet, and other areas. Footpaths, parks and even playgrounds are bearing the brunt of this problem. For instance, Bannappa Park has become a permanent parking place for unclaimed and seized vehicles. We have told the Police Department several times to sell the vehicles if they remain unclaimed for a year,” he said.
Hundreds of such vehicles are gathering dust even outside police stations. Kamal Panth, Additional Commissioner (Law and Order), said that the problem of parking seized vehicles is affecting the work environment at police stations as many of them are being parked on the station premises. “For example, though the Madiwala police station has a building, outside it hundreds of these vehicles are parked,” he added.
Mr. Panth said it had become a “serious concern” for the police too. “We cannot just sell the vehicles as we require the court’s permission to do so. Some of the vehicles were used by those who committed crimes such as murder and rape, and some were involved in accidents and some seized vehicles were handed over to the police by the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Commercial Tax Department, and Mines and Geology Department,” he explained.
In case of vehicles that were involved in accidents, badly damaged ones are not claimed by the owners as they get reimbursed for the damage by the insurance company, and the insurance company itself finds it useless to take damaged vehicles.
In cases of theft, the number plates of vehicles would have been changed and the owners are often untraceable, he added.
As a last resort, police stations across the city auction these vehicles. The buyers are those actually looking for second-hand vehicles or scrap/spare part dealers.
One such public auction will be held at the Cubbon Park police station on Monday at 3.30 p.m. A personnel from the station said 20 vehicles would be auctioned, and last such auction was held a year ago. “But there is no guarantee that all of them will be sold,” he added.
Mr. Panth explained that the RTO fixes a minimum price for each of the vehicles. Those vehicles that fail to attract the minimum price remain with the department.