New Delhi, Sep 3 (PTI) In a major crackdown, the Delhi government has suspended three motor licensing officers (MLOs) for 'irregularities' in issuance of driving licences, officials said on Thursday.
The action came after authorities witnessed an 'abnormal rise' in issuance of driving licences from New Delhi, Vasant Vihar and Surajmal Vihar zonal offices that are yet to get automated test track -- a more comprehensive and stringent system.
The transport department of the city government has also written to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for a vigilance inquiry to check whether SARATHI software for online applications to get driving licences was 'tampered' with by its developers, they said.
The MLOs of New Delhi, Vasant Vihar and Surajmal Vihar zonal offices were suspended by the chief secretary on Wednesday, said Special Commissioner (Transport) K K Dahiya.
'Major irregularities like issuance of driving licences without mandatory videography of the applicants and violations of PIN code restrictions were unearthed during surprise raids at these MLO offices on last Saturday,' said Dahiya, who supervised the raids.
A driving test is compulsory for all the applicants seeking issuance of driving licence. In Delhi, automated driving test tracks have been laid at five MLO offices. Five more automated test tracks will be laid in coming months and no manual driving tests will be allowed after December, officials said.
'Many applicants, in a bid to avoid automated driving tests that are more foolproof, applied from zonal offices like New Delhi, Vasant Vihar and Suraj Mal Vihar where the tracks are yet to be laid. They were helped by touts and officials in bypassing the PIN code restrictions that allow applicants to take the test only at designated MLO office as per PIN code of their residential addresses,' one of the officials said.
The restrictions of PIN code rule were 'bypassed' through 'lapses' in the SARATHI software of NIC, which provides various online services on transport-related documents like driving licence and registration certificates, they claimed. An 'abnormal rise' in issuance of driving licences from these three MLO offices was detected by the department after which raids were conducted, Dahiya said.
In a letter to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) director general on Tuesday, the special commissioner (transport) requested him for a vigilance inquiry.
'You are requested to order a vigilance enquiry whether lapses in the SARATHI software are bona fide errors or tampering was done with it by any NIC developers. Accountability should be fixed for this major lapse in system,' he wrote.
He also said, 'It was gathered some gaps were left in NIC's SARATHI software and there is a likelihood that with some inside information the shortcomings in the software were misused by the touts and applicants of other zones were entertained at these offices without PIN code restrictions.' The special commissioner (transport) also requested for 'replacement' of all NIC officials at MLO offices with new staff to rule out 'connivance of officials' at any level and also to facilitate fair enquiry.
The transport department has also started its 'detailed' vigilance enquiry in the matter, officials added. PTI VIT SMN SMN