BENGALURU: In what can be a cause of serious concern, a fake driving licence (DL) racket is flourishing quietly and police suspect that there are many gangs operating across the state.
Police also suspect some of the fake book DLs have been converted into genuine smartcards with the help of agents from regional transport offices (RTO). It has come to light that multiple DLs have been issued on the same registered number.
Basaveshwaranagar police recently nabbed a gang that was issuing fake driving licences across the state. According to police, the arrested are Bheemanna and Satish from Bengaluru, Bheem Rao from Yadgir and Gelani from Bidar.
A police official said, “Gelani, who was working as an agent in the RTO formed a team and started operations in the RTO office in Bidar. They were caught by Bidar police this year when they tried to convert a fake DL to a smartcard. The accused came out on bail and came down to Bengaluru to spread their network.”
“Though they were carrying on business rampantly it went unnoticed. Bheemanna, Satish and Bheem Rao used to bring in the DL applicants. They then forged the documents and gave them to Gelani. The fake book DLs were printed in a private printing press, the owner of which was unaware of the racket. Then he would issue fake DLs and demand more money to convert it into smart cards.”
How it Came Out Luck ran out for the gang when one Manje Gowda, a lorry owner, met with an accident. To claim insurance, Manje Gowda produced the vehicle and driving licence before the insurance company, which found the DL was fake. Manje Gowda filed a complaint with Basaveshwaranagar police.
A cop then approached Gelani as a DL aspirant and busted the racket. Gelani knew procedures of the RTO as he had been an agent with the office for 10 years. He has been creating fake DLs for one-and-a-half years now. Police found Gelani’s team had forged rubber stamps of various RTOs, DL applications and fake DL books.
The National Informatics Centre (NIC) counducted a study last year that shows there have been instances of one person having multiple licences issued from the same or different RTOs.
The report said the duplications were found in 13 per cent of the cases.
Narendra Holakar, Joint Commissioner for Transport, Bengaluru Rural & Urban Division, Office of the Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety said, “We have not come across fake DLs. If suspicious, RTO inspectors can crosscheck DLs.”
Another RTO official said, “We have come across fake check permits in which a Kerala-based gang was operating. We haven’t come across such incidents perhaps because these DLs are produced during renewal.”
DL, RC Books Invalid
Though the Transport Department has made it mandatory that book DLs and vehicle registration booklets be replaced with 16kb microchip embedded smart cards, police are allowing people with book DLs.
Driving licence holders and vehicle owners will have a maximum of two years’ time to change over to the new smart cards system that would cost them Rs200. The new system will enable the state police and the Transport Department to regularly update details in the driving licence, which will enable them to terminate a licence in case of repeated offences.
A grave problem
Gangs take Rs 14-15,000 to issue DLs for heavy vehicles and Rs 9,000 for
two- and 3-wheeler DLs
A case study by National Informatics Centre last year, concluded that around 74 lakh licences out of the total six crore may be duplicate ones
Who buys A fake licence?
People who want DLs instantly without getting Learner’s Licence or attending tests
In cities, it is the students and migrants from other states, who want to produce it as address proof
[To check genuineness of smart cards, we have card readers, which are with the RTO inspectors
narendra Holakar, Jt commissioner for Transport, Bengaluru Rural &Urban Division