The Delhi police has informed the Delhi High Court that there are 25,547 seized vehicles in their custody, of which 19,970 vehicles are not roadworthy and 2,479 are lying on roads and public places.
According to the report submitted by Delhi Police, 2,86,741 case properties, including seized vehicles, are currently under its custody. While smaller articles are kept in various ‘malkhanas’ (safe rooms) of the police stations, vehicles such as cars, three-wheelers and motorcycles are left out in the open.
Expressing concern over the delay in disposing of case properties — particularly vehicles — rendering them unworthy of being driven again, Justice JR Midha has now called for records of all such seized vehicles lying at all police stations in Delhi.
Currently vehicles involved in accident or theft cases are kept in police custody until the rightful owner claims themafter getting approval from the court.
Many such vehicles remain unclaimed for years at a stretch or long-drawn litigation processes force these to rot at the police stations.
These occupy substantial space in the police stations. They are prone to fast natural decay as they are kept in the open.
“Even a well-maintained vehicle loses its road-worthiness if it is kept stationary at the police station for more than 15 days,” the Supreme Court had observed in its judgment where it directed the speedy disposal of seized vehicles.
Last year, a report of Delhi HC-appointed committee had suggested that the police should inform the court concerned about all such vehicles lying unclaimed at the police stations for their prompt disposal through auctions.
“The court should pass necessary orders for their auction as per the provisions of CrPC with a direction to deposit the money recovered from the auction in the government treasury,” the committee had said.
The committee had raised various issues over the condition of the ‘malkhanas’, which house other seized articles such as cash, documents, jewellery, TV, fridge and other items.
“A visit to any malkhana of a police station will show the conditions in which articles are kept over there. There have been many instances where case property of different cases got mixed up,” the committee had said.
Taking note of the seriousness of the issue, the HC has now directed the police to submit a report on the disposal of such case properties in all police stations. It has asked whether the police was moving applications for the disposal of these case properties before the courts concerned.
“The report shall also indicate the condition of the malkhanas,” Justice Midha said directing Delhi police to place the report before it before the next date of hearing in August.