One fake licence opens a can of worms

Faridkot RTA blocks over 500 ‘dubious’ driving licences

One fake licence opens a can of worms

File photo

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, February 17

Four months after the Regional Transport Authority (RTA), Faridkot, issued a backdated “fake driving” licence for its (mis)use in a road accident case, this one fake licence has now opened a proverbial can of worms. After the registration of a criminal case in this one fake licence case, further investigation has increased the problems of the Transport Department.

The department has now detected over 500 dubious driving licences that were issued to residents of different parts of the country without a proper verification of the documents and credentials of the applicants.

All the licences had been issued by a clerk in the department. While the clerk has been placed under suspension, the department has blocked the 500 licences, asking the licence holders to first get their documents and credentials verified to unblock their licences.

Police investigation and information procured under the RTA, Faridkot, revealed that over 500 driving licences with dubious credentials were issued by the accused clerk in the office in the last one year. Though senior officials of the RTA were allegedly well aware of the wrongdoing of the clerk, they just issued warning letters to the clerk, but did not take any strict action against him to check the practice of issuing ‘fake’ driving licences to candidates.

The complainant in this case, Rajinder Singh of Kanakwala Bhaguan village in Sangrur who had paid Rs 50,000 to get a driving licence from a back date, wanted to use this licence in a road accident case. After he was issued a backdated, but a fake driving licence, Rajinder Singh approached the Sangrur police and a criminal case was registered on his complaint on October 21, 2019.

However, a month after the registration of this case, the Sangrur police got a shock when on November 30, 2019, Rajinder Singh entered into a compromise with the accused in the case. However, taking a serious view of ‘hostile’ attitude of the complainant, the Sangrur police continued with its investigation in the case and booked the Secretary, Hardeep Singh, and Assistant Transport Officer Gurnam Singh of the RTA in the case.

The RTA, Faridkot, is not new to controversies. Three months ago, a local court had framed charges against a former District Transport Officer (DTO), Nachhatar Singh, and two employees of the department for causing over Rs 8-crore loss to the state exchequer.

On January 1, 2015, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau had registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 201 and 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13(1)-D and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the then DTO, Nachhatar Singh Brar, and two clerks Amarjit Singh and Mehar Singh.

It is alleged that the DTO ignored the highest bidders for fancy numbers and allegedly obliged those who were recommended even though they did not take part in the auctions.

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