BENGALURU: IT professional Alok Hiriyur was taken aback when he received a challan from Bengaluru traffic police in September. He had relocated to Pune in May, taking his bike along, and hasn’t visited the city since. He approached the traffic police, seeking clarification on how he had been booked when neither he nor his vehicle were in the city.
“I was shocked to receive a challan from Bengaluru traffic police at my Bengaluru address for two violations — riding without helmet and jumping traffic signal. Both were reported in Mico Layout traffic police limits. But neither me nor my bike were there during the time of the violations which were stated in the challan,” Hiriyur claimed.
“As a responsible citizen, I have always followed road traffic rules and admired Bengaluru’s road traffic law enforcement. When I escalated this issue to senior officials, some policemen tried to convince me to pay `200 as fine to close the complaint for violations I never even committed. I was not ready to pay the fine. Why should a genuine vehicle owner with valid registration pay a fine or be responsible for any crime committed by someone else using a fake vehicle registration number?” he asked. He added that his complaint was resolved after the intervention of City Police Commissioner N S Megharikh. Hiriyur is not alone. There have been many motorists like him who have lodged complaints with the city traffic police for being slapped with fines for offences they didn’t commit.
Waseem Memon of ‘Drive Without Borders’ movement, who has received several such complaints, said, “Bengaluru traffic police are increasingly dependent on CCTV cameras to book traffic offenders, but there are several instances of motorists being slapped with fines for offences they never committed. For instance, a motorist in Whitefield was booked for jumping a signal in Koramangala.
Police should use this data captured through CCTV cameras and take action against criminal gangs using fake number plates,” he said.
Traffic police officials say errors in identifying the registration number through CCTV cameras and fake number plates contribute to this problem. “We are cross-checking the proofs given by the people and correcting our records if their claims are correct,” R Hithendra, Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic) said.