Five drivers held for attempting to cross into Delhi with fake toll passes
Five drivers, including three registered drivers with cab aggregator Uber, were arrested on Wednesday morning while they were trying to cross the Gurugram-Delhi border at Sirhaul by allegedly producing fake monthly passes.
According to the police, a gang has been selling fake passes for several months and is believed to have duped the toll operator of nearly Rs 5 crore, with respect to passes issued for cars. The company is yet to verify the passes issued for heavy vehicles.
The police said that so far, the passes that have been duplicated do not comprise RFID tags, but only the monthly passes issued for cars. These passes are issued by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
The police said they received a complaint from MEP Infrastructure Developers, the contractor for collecting municipal toll, alleging that a gang was selling duplicate monthly passes, which cost Rs 3,000, for Rs 2,700.
The drivers, during questioning, revealed that they bought these passes from Uber’s officer in Sector 29 through the supervisor, said police.
Police commissioner Muhammad Akil said he the police teams took prompt action and arrested the drivers from the municipal toll plaza, and conducted raids at the cab aggregator office from where the supervisor was operating. However, the supervisor was missing and could not be traced.
“One of the accused, who had introduced himself as Vishnu, had sent messages to Uber driver-partners offering them a discount of Rs 300 and had asked them to collect the passes from the Sector 29 office. The drivers said that they bought these passes, but were unaware that these were fake, as they procured them from the aggregator’s office,” he said.
A spokesperson for Uber said that no employee was involved in the fraud and they suspect that third-party persons, posing as their employees, are involved in the alleged fraud. “Law enforcement has informed us they have identified some miscreants, who have been indulging in fraudulent activities related to selling bar-coded stickers for passing through tolls in the National Capital Region. No Uber employee has been arrested till date in connection with this matter. Uber is currently cooperating with law enforcement authorities and will continue to assist them in their investigations.”
The police said MEP officials found the fake passes when they had, randomly, stopped two cabs to check their monthly passes. They found the passes to be duplicate and confirmed the same by using the barcode scanner, which revealed that all the passes had the same code.
Subodh Garud, chief executive officer, MEP, said that the company has suffered a huge loss and is yet to ascertain the total loss. “As per the statement of the drivers, it is being done for several months, but no specific information is available at present. The fraud came to light after a cab driver had approached with an application for a refund of one such pass. He had two passes of the same vehicle number. After scanning the QR code, it was found that one of the passes was duplicate and original was issued for another vehicle. So, our teams started checking all the passes and found a series of such passes,” he said.
Garud said that at present, they have gauged the fraud only in monthly passes for cars, which cost Rs 3,000 each. They are in the process of ascertaining the extent of frauds in other categories of passes — issued for Rs 6,000, Rs 9,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 36,000 (monthly and yearly) — after which they can estimate the total loss they have suffered.
“The staff informed a senior officer and contacted the police control room. A PCR was sent from Udyog Vihar police station and they were taken for questioning. Original passes were submitted by the officials to the police and a team was sent to Uber officer to question the supervisor who was found absconding,” said Akil.
Police said they are investigating if a fake prepaid toll pass racket is being run from the city. Similar cases were unearthed in the past years and the toll operator at the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway was duped of lakhs of rupees.
A case under sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forging document) and 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC was registered at Udyog Vihar police station on Wednesday.
The drivers were produced before the district and sessions court on Thursday and sent to 14-day judicial custody, said police.
Similar cases were registered at several police stations of Delhi and Faridabad.