The idea behind starting the vehicle registration verification (VRV) drive was to trace stolen vehicles and prevent their misuse by criminals and anti-national elements.
What additional commissioner of police (Central Region), Vineet Agarwal, didn’t expect was to find vehicles abandoned near police check points.
Nearly, two months into the drive, the police have registered nine cases and found four vehicles abandoned near places where nakabandis were being carried out.
Agarwal said: “I suspect these vehicles are either stolen or being used for some criminal activities. When the drivers saw the policemen checking the registration numbers of the cars in their database, they panicked and abandoned their vehicles.”
Agarwal said they were trying to trace the original owners of the cars. “The registration numbers are fake. However, we are using other leads to track down the people who left the cars there,” he said.
The registration drive, brainchild of Agarwal, was started in the central region of Mumbai — which witnesses a high number of vehicle thefts — in September.
As part of the drive, police stations in the region were given laptops fed with database of vehicle registered with four regional transport offices (RTOs) in the city. The database also includes important details like the owner’s name, the make of the car, colour and so on.
Explaining how the system works, Agarwal said: “During nakabandis, our officers feed the registration number of the vehicle in the laptop. The software displays details of the car provided by the RTO. If there are any discrepancies in information given by the driver, he is interrogated.”
Agarwal said VRV was also being used to visit parking lots and check on vehicles parked there. He added that the system has been effective and is foolproof.
“When someone driving a stolen vehicle spots the police checking the details on their laptops, as against the paperwork that can be easily forged, they abandon it,” he said.
With the success of the VRV drive in the central region, Mumbai police commissioner Sanjeev Dayal had decided to replicate it all over the city, he said.
Another trend that has come to the fore, with the implementation of the drive, is the procedural lapses made by dealers and agents of bikes and cars.
Agarwal said, “On several occasions, dealers selling new vehicles to the customers volunteer to get it registered after charging the necessary amount. However, the dealers / agents any random number without registering it and thereby pocket the entire fees.”