Twelve years after a departmental inquiry was initiated against him and 19 others for alleged illegal registration of imported two-wheelers, Ravindra Gaikwad, a deputy regional transport officer posted at the Borivali Regional Transport office (RTO), has been exonerated of all charges, with a remark that there was no need for an inquiry against him in the first place.
In 2007, Mr. Gaikwad, then posted at Andheri RTO, and 19 others came under scrutiny for allegedly registering imported bikes without verifying paperwork, registering two-wheelers despite bills mentioning loose parts, accepting fake bills for registration despite the need for a Customs certificate, causing loss of government revenue, mass registration instead of individual checking, accepting insurance policies as address proof, and registering vehicles that were not physically present.
The Transport Department conducted an inquiry into the matter for 12 years, and in an order issued on January 11 said, “In case of Ravindra Gaikwad, no government revenue was lost and documents of vehicle owners were checked as per the provisions of the law. Which means that there was no necessity to initiate probe against him … He is being exonerated from the departmental inquiry.”
Mr. Gaikwad told The Hindu that the case was related to the registration of six imported bikes that he was dealing with. “I had clearly given an order that the bill of entry should be verified from the Customs Department, while the Octroi Department should verify the payment of octroi. I had even halted the registration of those bikes, ensuring there was no monetary loss to the government,” he said.
Mr. Gaikwad, who won a gold medal in engineering exams across all universities in the State in 1992, said his name was added to the list of the other accused officers as he too dealt with imported vehicles.
The Transport Department had initially asked retired IAS officer V.S. Dhondage to conduct the inquiry against all 20 officers, but in 2010, he informed the government he had no interest in the probe. In 2013, the Regional Departmental Inquiry Officer (RDIO), Konkan division, was asked to continue the inquiry. Contrary to the RDIO’s report, the government found that the registration of vehicles based on fake documents had been cancelled, which means the report was based on false information.
Mr. Gaikwad said, “I am happy that I have been absolved of all charges. Though it took 12 years, I’m glad that it happened.”