After 11 wrong e-challans, mid-day tracks down owner of offending scooter
mid-day photographer was being bombarded by e-challans since April for wrongly parked scooter, while he owns a motorcycle
After four months of being bombarded by 11 wrong e-challans for illegal parking, mid-day photographer Suresh Karkera, a bike owner, along with a mid-day team managed to track down the owner of the offending scooter that Karkera was being fined for.
Karkera, who owns a motorcycle, Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220, had been receiving e-challans on his mobile number since April 10 for parking a TVS Jupiter scooter in a no-parking zone at R A Kidwai Marg. Karkera has never parked his motorbike there.
Mansoor Ali Khan, who now owns the scooter that mid-day found at RA Kidwai Marg
Despite repeated requests and reminders to the traffic department's multimedia cell through emails and calls that the e-challan had been issued to the wrong person, the department never once bothered to find out the facts of the matter.
Till August 10, Karkera had received 10 e-challans for the scooter with the registration number MH 01 CX 4644, On checking with the Mumbai Traffic App, Karkera found that all the challans were issued for the same TVS Jupiter scooter. When the 11th challan arrived on August 17, mid-day decided to get to the root of the mystery.
The RC card mentions the name of its first owner, Rajkumar Gupta. Pics/Suraj Ojha, Suresh Karkera
The team first visited the traffic department with the images retrieved from the Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP) app. After inquiring with dozens of traffic constables, the team finally found the one who had taken the photograph of the scooter when it was parked in a No Parking area on August 17. The constable told us that he remotely remembers taking the photograph near Gynaneshwar Vidyalaya on P D'Mello Road between Wadala and Sewri.
The mid-day team visited the spot and inquired with the locals and shopkeepers for any details about the vehicle. After several hours of searching and inquiring, the team was lucky to trace the vehicle and interestingly, it was parked at the very same 'No Parking' spot. But this was not the end of the problem.
The TVS Jupiter scooter wrongly parker on R A Kidwai Marg
Once the team spotted the scooter, they decided to wait till the owner came. But, 30 minutes later, when none came, the team alerted the traffic department to the exact location of the scooter. The mid-day team then tipped off RAK Marg police and a constable accompanied the team to the spot; the traffic cops too arrived half-an-hour later. The traffic cops towed away the scooter and parked it on the premises of RAK Marg police station. With the help of a local mechanic, the base frame of the scooter was studied and the chassis number was jotted down.
The next day, the mid-day team procured the actual registration number of the scooter and tracked down the owner's address at the elite Parivar Safalya building in Sewri. The team inquired about the owner, Raj Kumar Gupta, but learnt that Gupta has sold his property. Gupta runs two garment shops in Wadala and Dadar. The team was told that Gupta can be found at National Market, Wadala. After inquiring with nearly a dozen people, the team bumped into an old friend who dialled Gupta's number, who told mid-day that he had gifted his scooter to a tailor Mansoor Ali Khan last Diwali. Gupta, according to him, had advised the tailor to transfer the ownership on his name but he didn't, said Gupta, adding, "I gifted away the scooter after riding it for a few months." Now, with the help of Gupta's friend, mid-day tracked down Khan who blamed his dealer, then alleged that he was no more. He said, "The agent has botched up the registration number plates. We were given two plates, first MH 01 CX 1837, which ultimately turned out to be a fraud, and later, MH 01 CX 4644." "I have been requesting Gupta to give me the documents of the scooter so that I can get the ownership changed to my name. The insurance of the scooter, too, is pending because of this. It is the reason I have been riding it only locally," said Khan. He said he has been suffering due to the lackadaisical nature of Gupta and the agent. Gupta was surprised to hear this. He checked the Copy of Registration (RC) book of the scooter and the number mentioned in it did not match the scooter's number plate.
The number of the scooter is the same as that of Karkera's motorbike, as instead of MH 01 CY 4644, Gupta's scooter bears the number MH 01 CX 4644 which is the bona fide registration number of Karkera's bike. The change in one letter kick-started Karkera's harassment through e-challans. A pending bill of R2,200, too, is pending against the number.
'No one to help about wrong e-challans'
"When I noticed that 10 e-challans were issued to me for parking violations, I immediately tried to contact the traffic helpline. However, the number was constantly not reachable," said Suresh, who lives at Pratiksha Nagar, Sion East. Suresh had, on August 11, filed a police complaint regarding the wrong issuance of e-challans, but has not received a response yet.
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