Switzerland does not take traffic transgressions lightly. The Swiss authorities will even dog a tourist back to their home country and extract that fine yet. Since 2008, as many as ten persons from Mumbai have received notices for payment of fines ranging from Rs.10,000-54,000 for having broken traffic rules during their holiday in the Alpine nation.
The Mumbai Crime Branch (MCM), the nodal agency for the Interpol in Maharashtra, has already received two letters in 2013 from Swiss courts informing it that such-and-such Mumbaikars must pay up their fine or face trial in Swiss courts.
A rude shock in Indian rupees
“We have been receiving these notices from the Swiss police department since 2008. Our duty is to identify the address given to us and inform [the occupants of that address] about the notice,” said Shalini Sharma, an Inspector attached with the extradition cell of the MCM. She said the offending tourists received a huge shock when they converted their fine amounts from Swiss franc to Indian rupees.
This year, two tourists Sachin Parab and Neeraj Kayathwal, from Mumbai, received notices worth Swiss franc 635 and 800 respectively, which works out to about Rs.38,000 and 48,000 respectively.
Legal expenses tacked on
However, some of those to whom the crime branch served notices reportedly claim to have paid a fine back in Switzerland. Ms. Sharma said:“They were astonished when served the notice and [told] us they had [already] paid [a] fine. [It would appear that] the Swiss courts, maybe as per their law, seem to be sending [bills for] the entire amount their government has spent on processing [the] individual case in its courts”. Out of the six notices served, Ms. Sharma said, two paid their fines.
In 2008, the Mumbai crime branch received four notices, and one was received in 2009. The person was charged with a fine of about Swiss Franc 150, which is about Rs.9,000. In 2011, Amit Dhannalal, Asit Mehta and Mohammad Lakdawala were charged with Swiss Franc 625, 180 and 875 respectively, which is about Rs.37,000, 10,000 and 52,000 respectively.
Scant regard for road rules
“We [tend to pay scant regard to obeying] traffic rules when travelling in India and do the same in a foreign country. Indian tourists should obey the law of a country they are visiting, else be ready to pay hefty fine,” she said.