For the first time ever in the history of Chandigarh, deputy commissioner Mohammad Shayin on Friday cancelled the auction of new CH-01-AR series held a day earlier at Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) in Sector 17. The auction was cancelled on the grounds of poor public response and alleged coming together by bidders during the auction.
During Thursday's auction, 0001 number in CH-01-AR series fetched only Rs 3.51 lakh. During similar auction for CH-01-AP series in August 2012, the vanity number had fetched Rs 26.05 lakh. In June 2012, agriculturist-businessman Jagjit Singh Chahal had bid Rs 17 lakh for CH-01-AN-0001 for his Rs 85-lakh Toyota Land Cruiser.
The RLA earned only Rs 13.96 lakh from 38 numbers on Thursday, the lowest in the past two years. In December 2012, the RLA had earned Rs 85 lakh for numbers in AQ series.
Interestingly, bidders are said to have come together to bid for the first ten vanity numbers in AR series and thus did not allow bids to shoot up. Most single digit numbers were sold between Rs 16,000 and Rs 70,000, which were only slightly higher than their reserve prices.
On the other hand, DC Mohammad Shayin maintained that the auction was cancelled since RLA had collected lowest revenue in recent times and the sought-after vanity numbers went for very low prices. "We got certain complaints that bidders had come together for bidding. So we decided to cancel it. We want the system to be crystal clear. Moreover, it was a huge loss to the exchequer. We will soon announce the new date for the auction," he said.
It is clearly mentioned in the terms and conditions of auction that it could be cancelled without giving any reason.
It is pertinent to mention here that only 106 applicants had applied for 38 vanity numbers for Thursday's auction. In the past, for every new series, 300 to 400 applications were received, an official of the RLA said.
Only four applications were received for 0001, three for 0002, four for 0004, three for 0005, four for 0006, two for 0007, three for 0008, five for 0009 and four for 0010.
Reacting to the development, local businessman Sidharth Bairagi of Sector 49-C, who bought CH-01-AR-0001 for his SUV Mahindra Quanto, said, "It is very unfortunate that the auction has been cancelled, but I will apply again since I want the same number at any cost."