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ACB to probe issuance of fraudulent HMV licences by RTO Jammu

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Jammu, Jul 28: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Sunday said it has registered a case against several persons, including some officials of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) here, for illegally issuing Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMV) licences to ineligible candidates for alleged pecuniary gains.

The case was registered after a joint surprise check was conducted in the RTO, Jammu, on the basis of a source report that officers in league with brokers or touts issue HMV driving licences to ineligible candidates against huge monetary considerations ranging from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 per licence, the ACB said in a statement here.

It said an FIR under various sections of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and the Ranbir Penal Code was registered against the then Junior Assistant in-charge licence section, Rajesh Jamwal, the beneficiary and others for "fabricating and manipulating" the digital records, and illegally issuing HMV licences by sheer abuse of their official positions.

It was also alleged that the concerned officials edit and manipulate digital date pertaining to the aspirants in such a way that it reflects their earlier Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) licences as HMV licences in the database, the ACB said.

Subsequently, the touts apply on their behalf for issuance of duplicate licence on varied reasons, like loss or obliteration, and in this way editing already made in the system paves way for issuance of the upgraded version of the licence without requiring the aspirants to go through the prescribed procedure for entitlement to such upgraded licences, it said.

The ACB said the source report referred to a particular case regarding issuance of one such licence in favour of one Ashok Kumar Sawhney.

"During joint surprise check, it was found that the endorsement for HMV transport licence shown to have been made on July 10, 2012, in respect of driving licence of Sawhney was not genuine," it said.

It emerged during probe, the ACB said, that Sawhney had applied for the post of driver in Relief and Rehabilitation Organization (Kashmir division) in pursuance to the Service Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB) advertisement for which hill driving licence was a pre-requisite.

"Though he was not having such licence at the time of advertisement, he subsequently got his LMV licence endorsed to transport on July 16, 2013," the statement added.

The ACB said it was revealed that the SSRB, after completion of required formalities, forwarded the selection list of three drivers to the Commissioner Secretary Revenue department, Civil Secretariat, Srinagar, which included the name of Sawhney too.

However, the recommendations were kept withheld subject to clarification with regard to date of endorsement for transport and its validity, it said.

"The suspect, in the meanwhile, managed to get his date of endorsement fraudulently edited so as to show it as July 10, 2017, instead of July 16, 2013, as it came to fore that he had earlier worked as an agent in the RTO, Jammu. Besides being familiar with the working of the said office, he was also known to its officers or officials," the ACB said.

In 2017, Sawhney approached Jamwal who, by abusing his official position, dishonestly and fraudulently edited the date of endorsement on his transport licence for ensuring his selection as driver thereby buttressing the allegations regarding fraudulent editing, it said.

The ACB said it also surfaced during probe that same modus operandi is being adopted in a routine process by the employees or the RTO, Jammu.

There is every reason to believe that more such instances may surface during investigation, it added.

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