PUDUCHERRY: Minister of Transport Mohf Shahjahan on Tuesday said that the RTO in Puducherry committed no fraud or irregularity in the registration of the car owned by actress Amala Paul and that it was done in accordance with provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act.
He said the actress purchased a Mercedes-Benz car for `1.12 crore in Karnataka and brought it to Puducherry with a temporary registration in order to register it with the RTO in Puducherry, taking advantage of the lower rates of registration and road tax as compared to her native State Kerala.
“She applied for registration on August 8, 2017, with the address of her rental house in Thilaspet as well as an LIC policy that she had taken by giving the rental house address,” the minister said. Shahjahan said this was within the provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act and thus the transport authority of the Union Territory could not deny registration of her vehicle.
It was not the RTO’s job to verify the authenticity of the address. That responsibility lied with the notary who signed the address proof and the insurance company which made the policy, said the minister.
“It is not mandatory for the car owner to continuously live in the address. Nor is there any fixed duration for the car owner to have lived in the address given,” he pointed out.
If she took the car to Kerala and was using it there, it was also within the ambit of the MV Act. As per the rules, the car could be used for one year in that State, after which it needed to be registered in the State where it was being used, he said, adding that only two months had passed since the registration.
High-end luxury car owners from neighbouring States are registering their vehicles in Puducherry to evade high road tax and registration fees in their home States, by using certain provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act to their advantage. Several models of luxury cars including Jaguar, Land cruiser, BMW, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini Huracan, Audi and Range Rover from other States have been registered in the Union Territory.
Though there were no legal violations of the provisions, there still were fraudulent practices in connivance with brokers, said Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, who visited the RTO in Puducherry on Tuesday.
The car owners who spent crores on purchasing such cars are reluctant to pay the road tax and registration fee amounting to a few lakhs in their States. However, Puducherry government is earning a revenue of around `70 crores annually through such registrations, sources said.
It has been happening for the last few decades, but the practice drew so much attention only after allegations were raised in connection with Amala Paul ‘s car.