Thousands of seized and detained vehicles dumped in front of police stations and spilling out into the nearby lanes and footpaths is a common sight in Bangalore. One such instance can be seen on the Service Road in Vijayanagar which is already crowded with a number of shops and hawkers operating on the stretch.
Most of the vehicles are entombed in layers of dust and are often found in a deplorable state with missing headlights, tyres, tubes and handles. And they aren’t the vehicles of the general public, but the ones which have been impounded in cases of theft, robbery, accidents or a dispute between two parties.
All such vehicles make their way to the police station of that respective jurisdiction until their rightful owners are found, or until they are auctioned or sold off as scrap. The vehicles which are detained by the police stations are either stolen, abandoned or seized and most of them are seized during criminal investigation.
A store owner who runs a shop nearby, says,“As if this road wasn’t in a mess already. Look at the amount of space these vehicles are occupying. These junkyards are not only an eyesore but also hunting grounds for snakes in some instances.”
The residents too have been complaining in this regard, but at the same time they realise that until the vehicles are claimed by the owners, the police can’t do much other than ensuring the security of the vehicles. “That is what the law demands. So whom do we complain to?,” says Manju, one of the residents.
When City Express visited the Vijaynagar police station, we found atleast 50-60 two-wheelers parked opposite to it and in the lane besides the police station. There is absolutely no space within the station compound to park any of these vehicles.
Assistant Sub-inspector Raghavendra said that the police is helpless and it is not easy to get rid of the vehicles. He said, “Space is definitely a problem. We have around 100 vehicles here, mostly two-wheelers.”
Another problem faced by the police is as the ASI said,“We can return the vehicles to the owners only when we can trace them. Mostly it is difficult as we do not have the updated address of the owner in our records.” He added, “In case, we are not able to trace the actual owner, it can be a long process. We have to notify all the stations in the city. Then we have to give the list of the vehicles to the Gazette, who in turn gives it to the press to publish the list. Later, we need the permission of the court and the RTO (Regional transport office) has to get in touch with us. RTO also quotes the price for the vehicles depending on the condition of the vehicle, in order to auction it.”
In fact, the situation in areas like Rajgopal Nagar (Peenya 2nd stage) is worse where there are more than 300 vehicles.
The officials say that only if someone buys it for a price exceeding the amount quoted by the RTO, it is auctioned off. The purchasers include people who would choose to revamp the vehicle or there are scrap dealers who would buy it dirt cheap just for its scrap value.
In some cases, by the time, the police receive these vehicles, the owners would have collected the money from the insurance company and never reclaim the vehicle.
Sub inspector of Madiwala police station, Ramkrishna, said, “Space is an issue in almost every station. But, we have to manage somehow. The vehicles continue to remain in the stations even after the court proceedings begin, though they are considered court property.”
Vijaynagar and Madiwala police stations are just the tip of the iceberg. The situation is bad in some stations like RT Nagar and Indiranagar where these vehicles occupy the adjoining lanes and pavements too.