A businessman in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram has paid a record auction price of Rs 18 lakh for a fancy registration number for his SUV.
Officials at the state motor vehicles department (MVD) said the amount paid by pharmaceutical firm owner KS Balagopal to get KL 01 CB1 was the highest in the state. The previous record was that of Rs 16.50 lakh in Thrissur district of the state.
Six years ago, a series of AK numbers fetched Rs 8 lakh but the CB1, which comes across as the abbreviation for Central Bureau of Investigation and the reason behind the high demand for the number, has surpassed all records hands down.
The auction started with the base amount of Rs 1 lakh and 8 people were in the first round of bidding but when it crossed Rs 10 lakh only 3 remained on the crease. To make the process more transparent, the MVD recorded the entire proceedings.
Balagopal paid the amount for his Toyota Land Cruiser that is worth over Rs 1 crore.
Interestingly, KL 01 CB1 was not the only number as 27 other fancy numbers were also up for sale during which the cash-crunched MVD earned Rs 26 lakh. In a smart move, the department has started advertising the availability of such numbers on its site to attract maximum bidders.
“When a fancy number comes around, we get a lot of inquiries. Interestingly, many go to the state MVD site regularly to check the availability of good numbers. Nothing wrong that those who can afford can pay for their fancy number,” an MVD senior official said.
Balagopal, who broke the records, was not available for comments.
There are many instances in the state of owners shelling out more than the price of their cars to get a lucky number. Recently, a Maruti Swift owner in Kochi paid more than what the hatchback was worth to get his favourite number.
And the frenzy for fancy numbers is such that people have even come to the blows.
In January this year, ruling Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress Party leaders created a ruckus at the regional transport office at Vuyyuru in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district over a registration number. Reports said the AP 16 DD 7777 number was sold for over Rs 60,000.