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DTO-automobile dealer scam exposed in Jorhat

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

From a Correspondent

JORHAT, April 6: Unsuspecting buyers of brand new vehicles of popular brands like Maruti, Mahindra, Hyundai, Tata and Bajaj have been duped of several thousand of rupees by dealers like M/s Amika Motors, Hyundai Motors, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Bajaj dealers in Jorhat. This has come to light following an enquiry conducted by Additiol Superintendent of Police (Security) Santanu Kr Dutta based on secret input highlighting the collective nexus of the dealers with the corrupt officials of the DTO (District Transport Office) forcing the customers to pay a few thousand rupees more against each sale thus executing a scam of Rs 30 lakh every month in the district.

Under section 42 of the Central Motor Vehicle (MV) Rules of 1989 every automobile dealer must deliver a new vehicle to the customer on road only after the completion of insurance and registration process. Though the insurance is generally done by a customer, the registration is done by the dealers. Based on this concept a nexus grew between the DTO Office and the dealers. It is only the dealers who submit the form 21 & 22 to the DTO office without the customer having to set foot at the DTO office. It is at this juncture the scam is executed through a meticulous arrangement. Whereas registration charges are predetermined under different slabs of The Assam Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment Act), 2011 requiring a customer to pay 4 per cent as registration fees if the vehicle is below Rs 4 lakh plus 1 per cent cess on road safety amounting to Rs 160, Rs 125 against smart card, Rs 330 rupees for high security number plate and Rs 100 more for vehicles under hypothecation, totaling Rs 16,715. But despite mandatory guidelines depending on the type/price of the vehicle the dealers charge extra for the registration amount which vary from Rs 1000 to several thousand rupees.

Considering the vehicle sale in Jorhat district, it is estimated that an amount of around Rs 30 lakh is collected uccounted from unsuspecting customers on a monthly basis, which may be higher if registration and permit for commercial vehicles are added along with the non-commercial vehicles.

A Jorhat PS case number 666/2015 has been registered U/S 34 (Common Intention), 406 (Cognizable Non-Bailable offence), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly Inducing delivery of property, Breach of Trust) IPC and Section 7 (Public Servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration) and Section 8 (Taking gratification in order by corrupt or illegal means to influence a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988. Till the filing of the report the DTO Jorhat had already been transferred following the exposing of the scam and many owners of some of the leading showroom dealers had filed for bail at Gauhati High Court. Sources at the DTO office Jorhat have disclosed about the DTO had sought self transfer to Tezpur and handed over charge beforehand following the registration of the crimil case by Jorhat Police.

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