Commercial vehicle owners duped of cash by racketeers who gave them forged entry stickers
Police are looking for an organised syndicate involved in issuing fake “No Entry Permission (NEP)” stickers to commercial goods vehicles for plying in Delhi during restricted hours, thus duping vehicle owners of money and also causing financial losses to the government.
Delhi traffic police officers said since the process of receiving fresh applications and issuing the annual NEP has stickers had remained suspended for nearly a year owing to several reasons, the Covid-19 pandemic being the primary one, the con men had taken it as an opportunity to earn easy money by preparing forged NEP stickers and selling them to vehicle owners, the police said.
At least two cases have been registered in the past two months at different police stations in Delhi. The latest one was filed with the crime branch on Wednesday (January 20), after four complaints regarding issuance of forged NEP stickers were received at the Delhi traffic police headquarters at Delhi’s Todapur from three separate commercial vehicle owners, senior police officers privy to the development said.
As per traffic police’s rules, plying of commercial goods vehicles such as trucks and mini trucks are banned during restricted hours (8am to 11am and 5pm to 9pm) in certain areas and on city roads. Only those commercial vehicles that have an NEP sticker are allowed to move around during the restricted hours.
One of the four complainants, Jitendra Pradhan,47, was duped of ₹10,000 by these con men. He had paid them in cash and in bank transfers between November last and December first week for obtaining NEP stickers for his two goods vehicles.
Pradhan had got a contract from a furniture company to transport furniture to Delhi and for that he needed the NEP stickers. Since Pradhan was not aware of the procedure for obtaining the stickers, he enquired about it from some transporters and drivers who told him that the traffic police are not accepting applications for issuing annual NEP stickers.
“In mid-November, a driver( not known to him) gave me a number of a person and said that man would provide me with the NEP sticker after charging a certain amount. I contacted the person, who identified himself as Updesh Kumar, a driver. He took ₹5,000 and after a week, gave me one NEP sticker having a barcode and my vehicle’s details. I transferred ₹5,000 more to a bank account for obtaining another sticker for my second vehicle,” said Pradhan.
Police said the fraud was detected in mid-December, when during a vehicle checking drive in Vasant Kunj, a traffic constable scanned the NEP sticker on Pradhan’s vehicle and found it to be a fake.
“The vehicle was not found in the list of vehicles that were issued the NEP sticker. The owner was examined. After his claims were found to be true and it was learnt that he had become a victim of some fraudster, his complaint along with other similar complaints were forwarded to the crime branch for necessary action,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Manish Aggarwal.
A traffic police officer, who did not want to be named, said that a similar fraud was detected in west Delhi two months ago and a case in that regard was registered at the Inderpuri police station. Since at least five such incidents came to fore in the past two months, the crime branch registered an FIR under Indian Penal Code Sections 420 (cheating) and 467 (forgery).
“Prime facie, it appears that the fraudsters copy details of vehicles having genuine NEP stickers and paste them onto the fake stickers. If you scan the barcode of the fake sticker, it will show the details of another vehicle. Since the vehicle owner cannot verify the authenticity of the stickers on their own, the racketeers find it easy to con them,” said the officer cited above.
“ we are also in the process of starting a digital platform where commercial vehicle owners can apply for NEPs and obtain them without any getting into the hassle of visiting our offices. It is another reason for the delay in issuance of the annual NEPs. As of now, we have been issuing temporary NEPs and extending the validity date,” said joint CP Aggarwal.
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