Police stations in the central suburbs claim to have solved 18 cases of vehicle-related crimes in the past six months. They claim to have done this by checking the details of vehicles - at toll nakas or nakabandis - against those registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). According to records given by the police central region office, the police have retrieved the stolen vehicles in a majority of the solved cases.
Additional commissioner of police (central region), Vineet Agarwal, initiated the Vehicle Registration Verification (VRV) drive in September last year. As part of the drive, the 20 police stations, between Kurla and Worli, contacted the three RTOs in the city and collated the database of the vehicles registered with them.
The police took down details such as the name of the vehicle's owner, the registration number of the vehicle, the model and colour of the vehicle. The data was entered into laptops, which were given to policemen, who stand at toll nakas and nakabandis. If the information provided by the drivers did not match the information provided by the RTOs, they were questioned.
"What VRV has done is that it has given more teeth to steps such as nakabandis. Our policemen can feed in the registration number of the vehicles while they are waiting to pass the clearance. By the time they reach the clearance spot to show their documents, our men have already checked if the registration numbers tally or not," Agarwal told Hindustan Times.
"In the past six months, around 18 cases have been registered that involved instances where we have recovered a stolen vehicle or found that the registration number of the vehicle is incorrect that has led to cases against car dealers if they are at fault," he added.
Agarwal, however, admitted to some shortfalls regarding the VRV process. "The database that we have collated does suffer from a degree of duplication where details have been keyed in twice." In addition to this, the VRV database does not have records of vehicles registered more than four years ago with RTOs because the transport office does not have them in a digital format as yet, said Agarwal. "We will send our men to the RTOs to ensure we have a foolproof database," added Agarwal.
‘Nationwide database will make drive effective’
In order to make the Vehicle Registration Verification (VRV) drive more effective, additional commissioner of police (central region), Vineet Agarwal, wants a countrywide database so that they can verify the details of vehicles registered in other parts of the country as well.
"I have written to the Information Technology secretary, Rajesh Aggarwal, earlier this week asking for a database of RTOs in other states as well," Agarwal told HT. "We will then merge the data with vehicles registered in the Mumbai-based RTOs and give it to our policemen. We are hoping to start with the process within a month's time," he added.
Explaining the rationale behind having the databank, Agarwal said, "There are many vehicles, which have been registered in another parts of the country. We obviously cannot check their details with the RTOs in the city. Our aim is to ensure that we can check each vehicle, which passes through the central region."
According to Agarwal, securing such a database will be easy. "All the data is present with the respective RTOs. All we have to do is get a link to them. It is just a question of taking that initiative," added Agarwal.
"There are gangs that steal vehicles from one state and sell it in another state. With the countrywide database, the above modus operandi would become ineffective," added an officer from a police station in central suburbs, on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorised to talk to the media.