The Mumbai Police have started a long process of returning all vehicles seized during the lockdown, which was implemented since the start of the month. According to TOI, the Mumbai police department had seized over 34,000 vehicles within the first four-days of lockdown in the city.
Note: All images used are for representational purposes only.
The gradual process of returning all the seized vehicles to their respective owners is because of the lack of parking spaces. Police also fear theft, especially of seized luxury vehicles which could further lead to more problems.
Mumbai police recently announced that motorists are prohibited to travel more than 2 kilometres from their homes. The new directive was part of the lockdown procedure implemented in the city, announced due to the rising COVID-19 cases. Police did, however, allow a pass only for those motorists who had valid reasons like medical emergency, essential movement and travelling to and fro work.
The Mumbai police stated that the majority of vehicles seized during the lockdown were from the eastern and western suburbs. Once impounded, the vehicles would be towed to the nearest police station. However, with an increasing number of seized vehicles, police had to use other open spaces to store the vehicles.
Further special squads were formed at these open storage spaces to guard the impounded vehicles. Apart from the squads, other patrolling officers would also keep an eye on the seized vehicles.
An officer of the eastern suburbs told TOI, "It is not feasible to keep impounded vehicles with us for too long. There's a risk of damage or rusting. We do not want a vehicle's owner to come at us later, complaining about its condition."
Another officer also stated, "We were particularly concerned about luxury vehicles like Mercedes, Audi and BMWs. A theft would be very embarrassing for the department and so luxury vehicles had to be kept inside police station compounds only,"
Talking about owners collecting their vehicles, depending on the charges filed, they will have to either make a plea in court or give an affidavit at the concerned police station. In case the charges are filed under IPC Section 188, then the owner will have to make an application in court for 'return of property', which once approved can be showcased at the police station to claim their vehicle back.
Other instances also include the owner having to give the police station an affidavit on a Rs 100 stamped paper. Vehicle owners will also have to pay a fine, if the police have issued a challan as well.
Thoughts About Mumbai Police Returning Seized Vehicles To Owners
The Mumbai Police have begun the gradual process of returning the 34,000 seized vehicles back to respective owners. The fear of having impounded vehicles stolen and the lack of space to store all the vehicles, being the major factors for return.