This 'AK-47' finally sold in an open auction for Rs.3.10 lakh against a reserve price of just Rs.10,000! And it has nothing to do with the Kalashnikov automatic weapons.
A Punjab-based religious sect Friday picked up the 'AK-47' as registration number for a luxury car.
It is the latest number series launched in Chandigarh. The actual number reads 'CH01-AK-0047'. The idea of having the 'AK-47' for a high-end luxury car has again shown the Punjabi fetish for fancy numbers.
In fact, the same sect head also picked up the number 'AK-56', the code for another Kalashnikov series automatic weapon. This number however went for the reserve price of just Rs.10,000.
The registration and licensing authority (RLA) in Chandigarh which auctions fancy numbers for vehicles, ended up with cash of over Rs.48 lakh as 93 of these numbers were auctioned Friday. The number 0007 went for Rs.4.21 lakh, while 0005 went for Rs.3.25 lakh. Number 0001 went for a lower Rs.3.1 lakh.
In the auction for the 'CH01-AH' series, the number 0001 went for a whopping Rs.7 lakh. The numbers 0009 and 0007 went for Rs.4.5 lakh and Rs.4.25 lakh, respectively. Other fancy numbers went for prices ranging from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.3.8 lakh.
The AH series generated a revenue of Rs.53 lakh for the RLA.
The previous auction of the series 'CH01-AJ' had earned nearly Rs.40 lakh for the RLA. The number 0001 went for Rs.7.5 lakh, picked up by the owner of a BMW car.
"People have a craze for these VIP and fancy numbers. The RLA earns a lot of revenue every 2-3 months from the auction of these numbers," an RLA official told IANS.
Chandigarh resident Narinder Singh Shergill became the first one in the region in May last year to break the Rs.10 lakh barrier to get the vehicle registration number of his choice - 0001.
Shergill's adventure in picking up the expensive number cost him half the price of the Toyota Fortuner sports utility vehicle that he bought for around Rs.20 lakh. He picked up the number in the 'CH01-AC' series.
"I was shocked, initially, when I learnt that he (Shergill) had bought the 0001 number at such a high cost. At this price, we could have bought another luxury car or two mid-segment cars," Shergill's wife Jaskaran Kaur had said at that time.
In recent years, nearly half a dozen people have paid up to half a million rupees to pick up the '0001' series number in Chandigarh.
In Punjab's Jalandhar city, 150 km from here, a Delhi-based businessman had bought the '0001' series number for his luxury Rs.2 crore Bentley car for a whopping Rs.7.25 lakh in August 2008.
Britain-based non-resident Indian Santokh Singh got the better of nine other bidders to get the 'CH-04-0001' number in April 2007.
The reserve price for the '0001' number is Rs.25,000. Any number of choice comes for a reserve price of Rs.5,000-15,000, if it does not have more than one bidder.
"The vehicle registration authorities in Chandigarh are having a good time in the last 6-7 years ever since the number auctions started. They have earned millions and car owners are happy too. Earlier, the VIP numbers were only available to influential people. Now it is an open game for anyone with moneybags," property consultant Shamsher Singh told IANS.
Chandigarh has the distinction of having one of the highest densities of motor vehicles in the country. For a population of just over 1.05 million there are nearly 700,000 registered vehicles here.