In what could turn out to be an embarrassment to the district transport office, a private banker on Monday claimed that he has a recorded conversation in which a vehicle agency owner maintained that the extra amount he charged on two-wheeler purchase was actually meant as bribe for the district transport officer (DTO).
Avtar Krishan, a private bank employee, purchased a motorcycle from Ganpati Motors (Royal Enfield agency) and paid them Rs 7,500 for getting registration certificate (RC). A day later, he received a text from the transport department that he had been charged only Rs 7,200.
When he contacted the agency owner, the latter told him that the extra money (Rs 300 in this case) is routed to the DTO.
“After I received the SMS, I rang up the agency owner. The agency owner claimed that the extra money was actually the DTO’s share. Moreover, I had booked the vehicle in January but they overcharged 6,000 citing price hike. I have filed a complaint with the senior superintendent of police (SSP) and other senior officials,” he said.
Avtar’s is not the lone case. In the past few months, there have other cases too wherein people were allegedly fleeced in a similar fashion.
Rajesh Gupta who underwent the same experience with another agency alleged that he was also asked to pay some extra charges. “I bought a two-wheeler from the Honda agency and they overcharged me and gave in writing that the extra money will be sent to the DTO. I discussed it with the officer sharing all the evidence but no action has been taken so far.”
When contacted, DTO Gurcharan Singh refuted these allegations and claimed that he has not received any written complaint on this.
Rate cards absent in vehicle agencies
In August last year, DSP vigilance Paramjit Singh Virk had conducted a meeting with vehicle dealers and the then DTO Pyara Singh asking them to put a display board with charges borne by buyers. HT found that none of the vehicle dealers have put display boards in their agencies.
The DSP (vigilance) claimed that without the connivance of DTO employees no agency can overcharge anyone. “We asked all the agencies and dealers to install a display board with rate cards. None of them are following it.” However, most of the agencies denied attending any such meeting held last year. “We have not been invited to any such meeting nor were any such orders ever issued,” claimed Vicky, who owns the Hero motorcycle agency. Later, it was found that the DTO has issued a letter asking all vehicle dealers to follow the notice and not overcharge customers, failing which strict action will be taken.