The private chartered bus with tinted glasses in which the gangrape took place was impounded as many as six times for traffic violations in the last two years.
On each occasion DL 1PC 0149 was seized - be it for permit violation or being on the road without a permit - it was released the next day after a fine was paid in accordance with law. Every time the bus was seized, a new driver was at the wheels.
The police are not amused.
"We had done our job by impounding the bus six times. If the punishment remains a fine, we should seriously think whether serious crimes like the December 16 gangrape can be stopped," Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said on Thursday.
"If a vehicle plies without a permit and fitness certificate, it should never be released."
Following the gangrape, the bus has finally been grounded.
It was impounded once each from Lajpat Nagar and Kalkaji, and twice each from Kalyanpuri and Sarita Vihar in 2011 and 2012.
The bus was detained for permit violations, picking up passengers from non-designated spots, on each occasion and at times for no permit, police said.
On December 16 too, the bus had violated permit norms and plied without a permit.
"How does the system allow a commercial vehicle to be on the road despite not having a permit?" fumed KK Kapila, chairman of road safety advocacy group International Road Federation.
The bus was last impounded on July 21 when Ram Singh, the prime accused in the gangrape case, was driving it. The bus owner, Dinesh Yadav, was also fined R500 twice for allowing unauthorised persons to drive it, police said.