Team-BHP > The Indian Car Scene


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 7th October 2020, 19:03   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 481
Thanked: 1,470 Times
Default My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Sometime in September 2020, I received a call from a person (Mr.S) claiming to be a cop from Excise Dept of Karnataka. He claimed that a 2-wheeler was confiscated by his department officials during a raid for ferrying illicit liquor during the period of nationwide Covid lockdown. That 2-wheeler was bearing the same number plate as my humble Activa! Policemen attached to Excise Dept obtained my name & address from RTO and started looking for me. To my luck, the address in my Activa's RC (registered in 2010) was my previous address from where I moved out in 2011. My former landlady who has my mobile number and new address shared these with the cops who had then called me.
srvm is offline   (35) Thanks
Old 7th October 2020, 19:13   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 481
Thanked: 1,470 Times
Default re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

I was told by the cops that they needed to see my vehicle immediately and needed to take some snaps of the vehicle along with number plate. I panicked a little since at that point I wasn't sure if the person who called me was a genuine cop or a conman. I told him that I still use my vehicle occasionally but it is currently at my home (new address) while I'm at work. Mr.S and his colleague insisted on phone that they only need to take snaps of the vehicle and my presence is not really required - leading me doubt them more. I told them to arrive at my new address while I started from my office. I informed my wife to be ready for 2 folks claiming to be cops, told her to first ask/check their ID cards and that I'm on the way. 20 minutes later I meet them & my wife in my apartment basement. By then their IDs were checked out by wife and they had already taken snaps of my Activa. They still waited so that they could meet me. One look at them (they were in plainclothes) and I was convinced that they were cops/Govt officials. They explained the situation to me. The confiscated vehicle was a Bajaj Discover and was used to ferry illicit liquor during lockdown period. Since, mine was an Activa and RTO details matched with it, they assured me that it is clear to them that I or my vehicle had nothing to do with the offence. They were quite polite with me even though we had language barrier. I live in Bangalore but not a native Kannada speaker. My Kannada vocabulary is limited while they didn't know/speak English or Hindi. They also showed me a notice addressed to me (written in Kannada) which I struggled to read. I thought the matter was resolved then and there.
As a parting shot, they told me coolly: "Saar! Don't you worry. This sort of offence is fairly common in and around Bangalore". That left me wondering what might have happened if the crime committed was a more serious one!


Two days later again I get a call from Mr.S asking me if I can produce myself with my vehicle original documents & photocopies at their office in another locality of the city. Later, I learnt that as per Karnataka rules, I was supposed to have received the "Notice" from cops the other day and report to their office within 3 days of receiving the notice - else action is taken by including vehicle owner name in the FIR. So, I went to their office with all vehicle documents the next day. This time I took a colleague Mr.V along who had knowledge of local language. Finding their office was another treasure hunt - no easily visible signboards, no searchable landmarks in GMaps. It was a small house converted to an office with only a small signboard in Kannada (only) outside. There I met Excise Inspector Mr.D who was anticipating me. He spoke politely about the case and asked my profession and details of my workplace. Seeing that I'm from a respectable background, he said that it is clear that I'm not linked to the case in anyway but the procedure calls for such a visit. I produced the photocopies of the following documents which were checked against the originals:
1. Vehicle Registration smart card
2. Purchase invoice (since it had my name as 1st owner)
3. Receipt of Road tax payment

I understood that only No.1 & 2 were actually required. But nevertheless I gave them a copy of No.3 to reduce hassles of possible another visit. I was fortunate that I was the first and only owner of the vehicle since 2010. I'm sure things would be more complicated if it was pre-owned vehicle. Along with copies of above documents, I was told to sign two documents:
(1) A declaration stating that I or my vehicle had nothing to do with the bootlegging crime and
(2) A request to authorities/court not to add my name in the FIR citing above declaration

The staff took quite some time to draft both the above documents to everybody's satisfaction (so many back-and-forth discussions between themselves because of lack of clarity/consensus about content and wording). Both the above documents were completely in Kannada and my colleague Mr.V helped in verbally translating them to me so that I could understand them before I signed them. I too got a copy of both documents.

Some dialogues between me and Mr.D (Excise Inspector):
Me: Sir, since you have the confiscated Discover bike with you, why didn't you trace its actual owner by using its Chassis number or Engine number?
Him (confirming my suspicions): Sir, these criminals start their shady business by first filing-off the Chassis and Engine number. There is no way to trace these guys. During a raid, they simply abandon the vehicle and run away.

Him: Sir, can you please tell if your Activa is in running condition?
Me: Sir, I knew you'd ask this. So I came here today in the same vehicle. It is parked outside your office. Do you want to have a look?
Him: That's fine sir. No need to check. I believe you.

Him: Sir, is your Activa 3G or 4G or 5G?
Me: uh! Sir bought it in 2010. I think it maybe 1G!! I don't remember if they even used such G-terminologies back then!
Him:


Finally, power cuts, printer problems (typical of any Govt office) and 4 hours later I left their office after thanking the officials.


A picture of the vehicle that put me in trouble
My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept-12.jpg



Things that were in my favor
(my main reason for posting this experience in TBHP so that others in similar situation may benefit or at least be aware of such situations):
1. I was first owner with all vehicle related documents in pucca condition.
2. Vehicle involved in bootlegging was different make from mine
3. My profession and job profile indicating that I'm from a decent background
4. My earnest attempts to communicate (speak & read) in local language despite obvious difficulties
5. My polite approach to the officials


Things that I dreaded but thankfully didn't happen:
1. Officials asking for bribe to close the file
2. My name figuring in FIR and me getting dragged to court later on to depose



What could have helped the officials to close this in lesser time:
1. A better workplace - theirs was a small, dingy house converted to office. Multiple staff members sharing a small room even during pandemic times. No scope for social distancing even if they wanted to. Erratic power supply too. Thankfully, they did have a laptop which they used during power cuts. The entire office was full of files and folders - old school!
2. A speech-to-text software in vernacular language for their desktops/laptops. This would drastically reduce their documentation time.


All the officials involved - Mr.S, his associate and Inspector Mr.D were very polite with me and explained everything in simple terms to a layman like me.


Some What if's to ponder about:
1. What if I was the 2nd or 3rd owner of the vehicle with no proper documents/records of previous owners/ownership?
2. (Worse than 1) What if I had sold the vehicle as 1st owner but next owner did not change records in RTO?
3. What if a more severe crime was committed instead of bootlegging?
4. What if the confiscated vehicle was also an Activa of the same color (a doppelganger)?


The notice from Officials (in Kannada):
My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept-notice1b.jpg

Gist in English:
(Addressed to me)
We (Excise department) inform you that during Covid-19 lockdown period at location xyz, officials caught 2 bikes involved in bootlegging. The riders abandoned their vehicles and ran away. Bikes were confiscated. One of those bikes a Bajaj Discover has a number plate which is registered to your name. A can with about 20 liters illicit liquor was found harnessed to the bike's fuel tank. As per rule/law number ABC a case was registered. A search was initiated to nab the accused/suspects. Officials contacted RTO to find owner's details. Since registration number is in your name, we suspect your direct/indirect involvement in the illegal act. As a potential suspect, we request you to come to our office within 3 days of receiving this notice and give your written statement on this matter. Else action will be taken.




Self-declaration by me:
My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept-declaration1b.jpg

Gist in English:
Your department gave me a notice on so-so date and I received it. I'm Mr.xyz living at present address for X years and working at ABC for Y years. On 21/4/2020 during Covid-19 lockdown, me or my family did not use my vehicle to go outdoors. As per your notice, the confiscated vehicle is Discover. But my vehicle is Activa. Confiscated vehicle had registration number same as my Activa but I have nothing to do with it. I purchased my Activa on so-so date from so-so dealer. I'm attaching a copy of RC card and purchase invoice to prove this. I own the Activa and use it for personal commute only. I have not given/transferred my Activa to anybody. There is no connection between me and the confiscated bike. I make this self-declaration on my own with no duress/coercion.




My request to leave out my name from FIR:
My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept-request1.jpg

Gist in English:
Kindly refer to your notice dated X. And also refer to my self-declaration dated Y.
I received your notice on X date. I replied to you on Y date. I have submitted copies of my vehicle related documents to you. Me or my vehicle is not involved in the alleged activity. So kindly remove my name from the list of suspects.


Conclusion: After this incident, I built some more character (to paraphrase Calvin's dad)

P.S: Thanks to BHPian NPV, mods Samurai, SmartCat & GTO for their help and advice.

Last edited by srvm : 9th October 2020 at 15:56.
srvm is offline   (131) Thanks
Old 8th October 2020, 09:44   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Banglore-Udupi
Posts: 24,319
Thanked: 25,665 Times
Default re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Quote:
Originally Posted by srvm View Post
Things that were in my favor
What really helped you is that you work in defense related public sector company, which makes you a government employee. Police usually treat fellow government employees with kid gloves, doubly so if related to defense.

Frankly, it was clear to them you had nothing to do with illicit liquor, considering it was simply a case of criminals using your registration number. That doesn't indicate collusion with any stretch of imagination. But I suspect the police bureaucracy requires them to conduct the inquiry anyway.

If you were not a government employee, they would have at least forced you to pay some bribe to leave your name out of the FIR.

Last edited by Samurai : 8th October 2020 at 09:47.
Samurai is offline   (53) Thanks
Old 10th October 2020, 10:58   #4
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 59,095
Thanked: 179,334 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
GTO is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 10th October 2020, 11:24   #5
BHPian
 
WhiteSierra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Hyd / SJC
Posts: 335
Thanked: 1,565 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Quote:
Originally Posted by srvm View Post

Some What if's to ponder about:
1. What if I was the 2nd or 3rd owner of the vehicle with no proper documents/records of previous owners/ownership?
They would be in trouble. If it is a same model vehicle, probably a CCTV footage of your vehicle in your home on the day of crime committed can be useful to avoid charges

Quote:

2. (Worse than 1) What if I had sold the vehicle as 1st owner but next owner did not change records in RTO?
You would be in trouble as the RC will still be having your name. But since the crime is not committed on this particular vehicle there should be no problem if you have enough proofs, the CCTV footage as mentioned earlier. Usually my parking lot has 2 CCTV cameras facing opposite each other, so that all the vehicles parked there are recorded.

Quote:
3. What if a more severe crime was committed instead of bootlegging?
4. What if the confiscated vehicle was also an Activa of the same color (a doppelganger)?
Same answer as above, If there's a CCTV footage in parking area, you can use it as a proof, if you don't have a footage, it would be little difficult for you to convince the officers that you have not done the crime. Also since the vehicle is confiscated, there should not be an issue whatsoever since the original vehicle is very much present with you.

What is most dangerous is, if the number plate and vehicle models are same and if the committed crime is severe and they ran away from the spot with the vehicle, leaving behind CCTV footage, you will really have a tough time to get out of that issue.

Quote:
Conclusion: After this incident, I built some more character (to paraphrase Calvin's dad)
Wow. That's one incident you will remember for many years to come, and you can also tell stories to your kids and grand kids about this in the future.

I had similar incident where I got a e-challan for signal jumping. My vehicle's first 6 characters and the offenders first 6 characters are same, also the number ends with 3330, but the offender vehicle's last number is 3339, Mine is a Qualis and the offender's vehicle is a Bajaj avenger. I raised a compliant to Hyderabad traffic police and they quickly corrected the challan, removed it on my vehicle and moved it to Avenger.
WhiteSierra is offline   (9) Thanks
Old 10th October 2020, 17:16   #6
NPV
Distinguished - BHPian
 
NPV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Namma Bengaluru
Posts: 6,306
Thanked: 7,476 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

@srvm, it must have been quite a scary experience despite being innocent and for no fault of yours. I'm glad you came out of it quickly and relatively easily.
Thanks for sharing your experience here, it is an eye opener and will help others handle such a situation.
NPV is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 11:29   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
landcruiser123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Campbell, CA
Posts: 2,080
Thanked: 3,789 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Hi srvm,
I'm glad the cops didn't trouble you much - they are very understanding and gentle in such cases. It's only stuff which they control like traffic fines and passport procedure they screw the general public on. If they harassed you, their actions would have brought a very quick undressing of the whole office as the vehicles were completely different.

Coming to the incident, it is scary but common. I know a neighbour of mine who was a suspect in a hit-and-run case. He drives a Laura, but the car which hit the victim was a WagonR (confirmed by CCTV.) Till date, it is not known whether the WagonR had fake plates or the victim/witnesses gave a wrong registration number. Just like you, he had to visit the police station, but it was all cleared out in a matter of a few weeks.
landcruiser123 is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 11:31   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Coimbatore
Posts: 38
Thanked: 73 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Damn! One good reason not to post any vehicle photos on OLX or other with the registration number. It would be easy for a criminal to pick and choose a make and model and make life even more difficult for the owner
gb97ce6 is offline   (11) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 11:43   #9
BHPian
 
pannags's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 498
Thanked: 918 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Firstly, really appreciate your taking time to not only share your experience, but articulating all the things that one needs to do when faced with a similar situation.

While I do tend to believe that your professional background may have influenced how they dealt with your case, at least people reading this know what to do and how. That, you were able to sort this out must've been a big relief.
pannags is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 12:56   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 481
Thanked: 1,470 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Many thanks for folks who gave valuable suggestions.

Some of you have mentioned CCTV footage to the rescue in case things went south. My apartment does have CCTVs but look at the timeline here: Discover confiscated in April. Excise department officials come looking for me in September. I don't think apartments keep CCTV footage of events that happened 5 months ago! So, depending on CCTV footage could be tricky.

I work for an autonomous body under Govt of India, though people (even some BHPians) often mistake me as Govt Employee or a PSU employee (both of which I'm not). It's quite possible that even cops mistook me for a Govt. employee BUT to be FAIR they asked my profession/employer name only at the fag end of the meeting when they were about to type it in the documents. So, I'm pretty sure the way they treated me without an iota of harassment was out of genuine honesty & politeness. Good cops also deserve to be highlighted.
srvm is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 13:21   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bombay
Posts: 697
Thanked: 801 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Cops don't generally hassle common folk. Actually they don't even bother criminals too much to save themselves the paperwork. Unless someone really gets on their tail, or they are on a mission to hassle someone because of Govt pressure or they have to show an "x" number of arrests/Challans - they won't really bother. I am of course speaking from my experience in Bombay but I don't see it being any better or worse elsewhere.

Best of luck.
invidious is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 13:25   #12
Distinguished - BHPian
 
audioholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: BengaLuru
Posts: 4,262
Thanked: 9,774 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Good to know you got out of this mess. I have a few doubts or thoughts about this incident:
  • The cops have a two wheeler as an evidence. But beyond the display of your number, there is no other way to relate that vehicle and you. Hence its high time the officials use registration number as a fool proof mechanism to trace people since changing plates is the easiest thing to do compared to changing chassis number or such. This really works on your favor even if you get dragged to court since you have the RC and a Vehicle which is completely different.
  • It would have been a bigger problem if the cops did not confiscate the bike and only had a reference of the regn number. Then you would definitely be in bigger trouble since you had to prove that there is another bike with your registration number. There are enough cameras around the city but it will take a good amount of effort to prove this. I dread that situation and in that case we have to gather a lot of supporting documents like office attendance swipes, fastag transactions and so.
  • Like others said, if you can give a good first impression to police or such officials, the whole scene can change and will work towards your favor and vice versa. Once my dad got tangled in a domestic affair of one of his reportees at work and was asked to visit the police station with another colleague of his along with the fighting couple. The wife had mentioned to the police that my dad and the colleage have been supporting this matter by merely approving leaves applied by the husband which helped him go away without being in contact with the wife Dad also works as a division head in a Central Govt. Organization so he was backed by the controller of that organization who is of higher rank than the police officials. When dad visited the police station, the officers there treated him with utmost respect, listened to his version of the story as a manager and turned the case around. It ended with the complaining wife to issue an apology and sign an undertaking that she would not drag my dad and the colleague into this matter which was purely personal. And as much as they treated my dad with respect, the complainant got the other end of the stick. So that day I learnt it helps to be in a PSU/Govt organization and realised I have no chance of getting similar treatment if unfortunately I get dragged into something I never was a part of.
  • Sometimes there is a money angle too if these officials sense a slight miss in the evidence. Here in your case it was crystal clear, else there is also the probability of them expecting some under the table deal to take you off the case. Hence, it is good to keep a good record of documents without throwing anything. Even I still have the purchase receipts of my vehicles, servicing bills and whatever other transaction happens. Now with fastag, it is also an additional proof to show location at least to a limited time. If I am at a toll X which is on one side of town, it is not practical to charge me for something that happened within a short amount of time in another side. And with fastag, I can fetch details of older transactions as well without having to preserve toll receipts.
  • Lastly, be wary of disposing end-of-life two wheelers. If the buyer is not willing to transfer, then better follow the RTO process to scrap a vehicle and then only hand over the vehicle. Will save you from a lot of trouble.
audioholic is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 13:50   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
vigsom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: BDQ
Posts: 2,543
Thanked: 4,133 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

After this incident, and the likely harassment it can cause to an owner in the event a vehicle is not transferred post sale, I'm wondering if it makes sense to keep one's vehicle till it stops working - and then create a small museum if one has the space to do so.

The harassment an owner has to go through for absolutely not fault of his/her's is just unacceptable.
vigsom is offline  
Old 11th October 2020, 14:27   #14
Distinguished - BHPian
 
drmohitg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Delhi
Posts: 5,358
Thanked: 6,808 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Glad that you were able to resolve this swiftly and smoothly. Kudos to the officials for not asking for a bribe which certainly helps in increasing the confidence of the common man.

I do however find this quite annoying that as a country in 2020 and aiming to be a global player, we still haven't been able to solve our basic internal conflicts. The GOI needs to ensure that any and all official documentation needs to be in English and perhaps a copy in the local language can also be given to those who need that. It is not about enforcing Hindi or any regional language. Let that battle go on and various languages fight the test of time. And I sincerely hope they all survive and be a part of our culture. But for official work, they need to make life easier for both the officials and the common man. A person from the south shouldn't have to struggle with an official document in Hindi and vice versa. In the era of digitalization, English needs to be accepted as the language of choice and all official paperwork.
drmohitg is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 11th October 2020, 14:28   #15
BHPian
 
urban legend's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: MUMBAI MH05
Posts: 147
Thanked: 50 Times
Default Re: My experience: Vehicle with the same registration number as mine confiscated by the Excise Dept

Horrifying incident. I shudder to think what would have happened if the criminals were smart enough to use a vehicle of the same make and model.
I strongly suggest manufacturers should make the engine and chassis number totally tamper proof. It ll hardly cost anything but will save owners a lot of trouble.
It also makes sense to buy a used vehicle from an acquaintance and to sell to a reputed dealer to avoid such hassles.
urban legend is offline   (1) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright 2000 - 2020, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks