The Road Transport Authority (RTA) officials in Anantapur unearthed a scam in which a gang changed the registration numbers of cars using a loophole in the online procedure of the department and sold them cheaply.
The miscreants, who allegedly bought the cars on finance, made the financiers believe that they were stolen and even lodged police complaints claiming that the vehicles were missing. In the process, they reportedly evaded payment of lifetime road tax running into lakhs of rupees.Six such vehicles – four in Tadipatri and one in Kalyandurg and one in Owk of Kurnool district – were confiscated by the DTC Anantapur and RTO Anantapur DSM Varaprasad and their teams after verifying the old RCs by retrieving data from back-end servers. Some vehicles are said to be still running in Telangana and Karnataka.
Deputy Transport Commissioner N. Sivaram Prasad said they had chanced upon two vehicles that were re-registered using old registration numbers of vehicles that had gone out of the State taking the ‘No- Objection Certificate’. “They utilised a loophole in the software where if a vehicle owner obtains an NoC, the data related to that vehicle vanishes from the active screen/database,” Mr. Prasad said.
Three data entry provisions given as part of customer convenience on APRTA Citizens’ Portal for uploading PDF version of RCs of vehicles coming from other States, conversion of those in transport category to non-transport category and entering data for all non-migrated vehicles by the owners before validating the facts with their thumb impressions, were misused. The miscreant, in likely connivance with the RTA staff, found out the numbers of the vehicles that had gone out of the State by taking NoCs and had only paper RCs. They uploaded fake scanned copies of the RCs to the portal and gave original engine and chassis numbers. Since there was no physical check, new vehicles got registered on old certificates and were sold at throwaway prices.
The vehicles costing about ₹25 lakh, were sold for less than ₹15 lakh.