Dispose of 23,000 seized vehicles, Lokayukta tells cops

Seized bikes gathering dust at a police station Basavanagudi in Bengaluru. DH FILE PHOTO

The picture of seized and unclaimed vehicles gathering dust at police stations and vacant sites raises a question: for how long can the police can keep these vehicles? In a report to the Lokayukta, the state police submitted that more than 23,000 vehicles have been awaiting disposal since 2015 across the state. Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty has directed the police department to get information from each police station.

Based on a complaint, the Lokayukta had asked the police department to submit a report on the number of vehicles languishing and steps taken to dispose of them. Additional director general of police (Crime and Technical Services) M A Saleem submitted a report elaborating the circumstances and reasons for the inability to dispose of the seized, unclaimed vehicles. The report said that a majority of the vehicles seized are disposed of every year. He said that in 2018 (till May) 20,693 vehicles were seized, while 13,405 vehicles were disposed of.

The report claimed that procedures to be followed while disposing of the seized, unclaimed vehicles include sending registration and chassis numbers to all police stations, State Crime Record Bureau, District Crime Record Bureau and publishing newspaper notifications. When the vehicles are still unclaimed, the police will have to get the vehicles valued by the Transport Department and arrange for public auction after obtaining the court’s permission. The report claimed that the safety and condition of the vehicles are ensured.

Lokayukta Justice Shetty directed the police to speed up the process to dispose of the vehicles to avoid loss to the state. Justice Shetty said the police should file an application before the courts for disposal of the vehicles. “The state will be the loser if effective steps are not taken for the disposal of these vehicles at the earliest. The Transport Commissioner is directed to issue appropriate directions to officials to help police in facilitating necessary valuation of the vehicle,’’ Justice Shetty said in the order.

A senior police official said that the Supreme Court in several cases has directed the police department to dispose of seized vehicles at the earliest. “In Ambalal Desai v/s state of Gujarat case, the Supreme Court held that it is of no use to keep seized vehicles at the police stations for a long period. For, the sufferer would either be the state exchequer or the citizen. The court hoped that magistrates would take immediate action and articles are not kept for not more than 15 days to one month,’’ the police official said.

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Dispose of 23,000 seized vehicles, Lokayukta tells cops

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