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As Delhi govt launches drive to scrap old vehicles, citizens accuse ‘scrapping mafia’ and officials of impounding cars without notice from private properties

As a part of its “Old Car Not Bekaar” campaign, Times Group's Mirror Now spoke to several persons, who alleged that their vehicles were taken away even from gated societies without any prior notice despite having valid registration certificates and fitness certificates.

In March of this year, the Delhi government, led by CM Arvind Kejriwal, initiated a campaign to impound end-of-life vehicles (ELV) or simply overage vehicles plying on roads or parked in private spaces. This, however, has become a concern for many citizens of the national capital, as they have alleged that their vehicles have been towed away and shifted to scrapyards without prior notice by Delhi Transport Department officials and scrapping agencies.

The campaign was launched on March 29, of this year, in view of the 2014 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and a 2018 Supreme Court order stating that vehicles older than 15 years should be deregistered and barred from operating in the national capital region to combat pollution.

Recently, many people opened up about their vehicles being impounded by the authorities despite having valid registration certificates (RCs) and in many cases without informing them. As a part of its “Old Car Not Bekaar” campaign, Times Group’s Mirror Now spoke to several persons, who alleged that their vehicles were taken away even from gated societies without any prior notice despite having valid registration certificates and fitness certificates. Calling it a ‘scrapping mafia’, they even alleged impounded vehicles are being returned by the scrapping agencies and transport officials in exchange for money.

In one of the episodes, Mirror Now talked to a Supreme Court lawyer and a corporate employee who alleged that the Delhi government’s campaign is mired in corruption involving the scrap mafias. They claimed that their vehicles were impounded even after having valid RCs.

“We are victims of the scrap mafia work which is going on in Delhi in the name of NGT and Supreme Court order. This is a clear case of extortion whereby they are picking up even the vehicles which have valid RCs and fitness certificates. My vehicle had valid registration for the next five years,” Supreme Court lawyer Shanta Kumar Mahale said. 

He further said that the vehicles are being forcefully taken away even from gated societies and private properties. Mahale further claimed that in the society where he resides, more than 18 to 20 vehicles were impounded in a single day. Alleging a “misuse” of the NGT and Supreme Court orders, Mahale said that the authorities are not considering the valid RCs and that the vehicles are parked on private land in gated societies. “They did not even allow us to take away our belongings,” Mahale said.

MCD officials hand-in-glove with ELV scrapping “mafia”

Moreover, Advocate Mahale alleged that one scrapping agency named Pineview is a “scrapping mafia” and is hand-in-glove with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials.

“After my vehicle was illegally taken away, I had approached the MCD South Shahdara zone officials, I met the assistant commissioner, and deputy commissioner there. I had given it in the writing about my vehicle being taken away, that it was not moving but parked. My plea was not heard. My written complaint and those of my co-residents didn’t matter to them. After five-six visits to the assistant commissioner and deputy commissioner south Shahdara office, they asked me to contact Pineview (the ELV scrapping agency),” Mahale said. 

The Supreme Court lawyer claimed that he was asked to follow the indications given by Pineview and then it is up to them to release the vehicle. Shanta Kumar Mahale further alleged that when he visited the Pineview office to get his vehicle released, he was asked to pay Rs 15,000. 

“I was completely left at the mercy of Pineview. When I went to their office, they said that we can release your vehicle but you will have to pay Rs 15,000 in cash and we will not give any receipt. This is simply the margin we pay to the MCD and you know some kind of taxes that we do,” Mahale claimed. 

He added that the agency was reluctant to provide a receipt in exchange for the payment if they are paying some taxes. He also claimed to have a witness of the incident and video evidence. Mahale also said that he found his vehicle in a damaged state after paying the amount asked. “I noticed that the front glass and fuel were stolen,” Mahale claimed.

Another Supreme Court lawyer said that his vehicle was towed away on February 27, when he was arguing a matter in Supreme Court. Some people he called “goondas” came to his house, and handed a receipt to his wife saying that this vehicle has to be taken away. They did not even wait for him to come back and take his important case files kept inside the car. 

Similar allegations are being made by many others on social media. Advocate Amit Rajora of the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court has posted several tweets alleging illegalities by Pineview and govt officials. “Pinview technology pvt ltd is fraud scrapping company and MCD is involved in this fraud. its scam of crores of rupees there is no SOP of Pineview company,” he alleged in one tweet.

Earlier in April, an FIR was registered against MCD’s Additional Commissioner and Bharat Scrap Facility, another scrapping agency, for taking away vehicles for scrapping without following proper procedure.

He also posted police complaints the car owners have filed accusing the scrapping company and transport officials of theft.

The affected people opined that the authorities do not have the right to enter private properties and take away the vehicles. The NGT order only pertains to ELVs parked in public spaces. 

Reacting to the issue, BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri alleged that this is a scam and the vehicles of Delhi people are being forcibly taken away and sold in other states.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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