KOZHIKODE: Following an Express investigative report (December 12,13) which exposed nexus between MVD staff and vehicle dealers in illegal collection of money from customers in the name of handling and registration charges, the State Transport Commissionerate on Tuesday conducted a state-wide raid at vehicle dealers seizing documents which showed excessive collection of the amount to the tune of `320 cr.
The raid, codenamed ‘Operation Anti-Looting,’ was conducted by special squads of various RTOs and action was initiated against 71 vehicle dealers based on the findings in the raid. Transport Commissioner Tomin J Thachankary told Express that the raids had, in fact, revealed the magnitude of the illegal practice of the vehicle dealers in fleecing customers in the name of registration and handling charges. “We have decided to keep track on the activities of the vehicle dealers and similar raids will be conducted on a regular basis to book the offenders,” he said.
As per a latest official estimate of the Transport Commissionerate, two-wheeler dealers were illegally collecting `120 cr while four-wheeler dealers collected close to `200 cr. The raids revealed that 13 vehicle dealers were found violating rules in Palakkad followed by nine in Ernakulam, seven in Kasargod and six in Idukki and Kannur respectively. The Transport Commissioner has asked the public to alert the Commissioner on his mobile number (8547639000) through SMS or Whatsapp in case any dealer charges additional amount in the name of handling and vehicle registration. In a two-part series the Express brought to light that while two-wheeler dealers charge an additional amount around ` 800-1,000 from customers as handling and registration charge, the four-wheeler buyers were forced to pay around `3,000 as part of their vehicle registration process.