CHANDIGARH — India’s centralised motor vehicles online database Vahan has been misused to illegally enter fake registration numbers of vehicles without the necessary supporting documents, according to an order issued by the Punjab State Transport Commissioner and accessed by HuffPost India.
The matter came to light when the commissioner’s office was looking into a complaint about an old-school seven-digit licence plate being allotted to two different cars, a Mercedes Benz and an Audi. While investigating this, the department found that according to the Vahan portal, the number had been matched to a third vehicle, an E-Maggic Cargo rickshaw, for which no registration certificate was issued.
“While scrutinising the record, another issue has come to light that in the Vahan 4.0 application where the registration of the vehicles is reflected, a vehicle with registration mark PCW-0001 reflects in the name of Sh. Mohan Singh Bains, r/o GSP, Pathankot though no registration certificate has been issued,” said the order dated August 4.
Amarpal Singh, Punjab’s State Transport Commissioner (STC), has ordered an enquiry into the matter and asked for a report to be submitted in three weeks.
The number has now been blacklisted on the Vahan portal.
HuffPost India had reported in July that the craze for so-called ‘fancy’ licence plates had led to a thriving black market in Punjab that spanned officers in the Registration Transport Authority (RTA), scrap dealers, touts and car salesmen.
To procure vanity registration numbers that begin with three-letter sequences such as PCS, PUF, PCW or PEG, influential Punjabis pay lakhs of rupees to buy rundown vehicles marked for the scrap dealer. These numbers belong to vehicles registered before the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 standardised a common template for vehicle registration numbers across India.
The numbers are then transferred to new vehicles in violation of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.