Kupwara ARTO, three others booked for corruption
The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday booked the Kupwara assistant regional transport officer (ARTO) and three others for graft and recovered ₹15 lakh from their possession.
The accused have been identified as Kupwara ARTO Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi, motor vehicle inspector Khursheed Ahmad Kanna, motor vehicle inspector Abdul Hamid Bhat and private agent Bilal Ahmad Sheikh.
An ACB spokesman said a surprise check was conducted at the driving test site in Nagri Kupwara following allegations that all affairs of the ARTO office, such as issuance of learner’s licence, driving licence, fitness certificates, etc, are carried out through corrupt means.
“During the checking conducted in association with Handwara executive magistrate first class, the accused Bilal Ahmad Sheikh was found actively involved in conducting driving tests along with the officials of ARTO, Kupwara. On searching his personal car, bearing registration number JK01R-4373, the team recovered 138 original driving licences, besides other incriminating material such as provisional appointment slips for driving tests, application reference slips, application for addition of new class of vehicle, journey sheets of vehicles, transport plans, learners’ licence, handwritten details of tests held on August 4, 2021etc,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“During initial investigation, it came to the fore that there is a deep nexus between some officers of the transport department and private agents (brokers) who are involved in fleecing the general public. ACB conducted searches at the residential premises of Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi (ARTO, Kupwara) and Bilal Ahmad Sheikh and found ₹15 lakh and various incriminating material,” the spokesman said.