Three fake UPSRTC buses seized, seven arrested
Ghaziabad: In a joint operation, the officials of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) and the Ghaziabad traffic police on Friday arrested seven persons who had allegedly painted private buses in colours of the UPSRTC, and were running operations between Meerut and Ghaziabad, pretending to be a government service. The police have registered an FIR at Link Road police station in this regard.
The suspects were identified as Rahat Ali, Rajendra Kumar, Raees Ahmad, Mohammad Javed, Arif Ali, Mohammad Afzaal and Shan Mohammad, who are residents of Ghaziabad, Meerut and Hapur districts. They were booked under sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) and 482 (using a false property mark) of IPC.
“They had been operating the buses for the past couple of months and got private 52-seater buses painted in the red and white scheme. They also painted monogram and slogans of the UPSRTC. With this, their buses looked similar to UPSRTC buses. The suspects were operating them from outside the Kaushambi metro station and charged between ₹30-100 for a trip to Meerut. They did not issue any tickets and packed buses to capacity despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” said AK Singh, regional manager (RM) of UPSRTC.
Three buses have been seized so far. Whether the suspects ran more such buses is being investigated.
Officials said that operators of UPSRTC buses, due to the pandemic, do not allow passengers more than the 52-seating capacity while private buses ferry as many passengers as their can, flouting Covid-19 protocols.
The RM said that a trip to Meerut in a UPSRTC bus costs about ₹60 and it is estimated that each of the three private buses seized by the police minted about ₹10,000 per day. On an average day, a UPSRTC bus makes about ₹1,000 a day. The fleet makes about 80 trips.
Each private bus allegedly run by the suspects made four-five trips a day, said officials.
“Their general modus operandi was to ferry as many passengers as they could and charge them ambiguous amounts of money in the name of fare to Meerut. They revealed that on days when there was rush, they would charge more from passengers. They operated these buses up to the bus stand in Meerut before returning to Ghaziabad. Their operations also led to loss of revenue to government buses,” he added.
Traffic officials said that those arrested were allegedly bus owners, drivers and conductors, and that more such raids will be conducted in coming time.
“They have been operating for the past few months, usually from near the ISBT at Kaushambi, from where they would pick up passengers. After they were arrested, an FIR was registered against them at Link Road police station. We also seized the three buses. We are planning to conduct checking operations at other locations too,” said Ramanand Kushwaha, superintendent of police (traffic).
The registration plates of two of the buses showed Meerut numbers while the third had a Ghaziabad number. “We will check the registration details with the help of the transport department,” he added.