Vijayawada: Officials of the Road Transport Authority (RTA) exposed a scam relating to the sale and registration of Bharat Stage III (BS-III) vehicles and found that 156 lorries are operating in the state in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.

Of the 156 lorries, 127 were registered illegally at Kohima, Nagaland, and later transferred to Andhra Pradesh, while 29 lorries were registered at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. The vehicles were sold in Andhra Pradesh as BS-IV vehicles. The RTA officials said some of their staff in Anantapur may have taken bribes.

Joint transport commissioner (vigilance) S.A.V Prasada Rao said the BS-III lorries, that have 10 to 18 wheels, were allegedly purchased as scrap from Ashok Leyland in 2018 in Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand. Later, fake documents were created to show they were BS-IV vehicles.

“So far, we have detected 156 such vehicles and have obtained complete information pertaining to such vehicles allegedly purchased by the family members of former MP J.C Diwakar Reddy in the name of C. Gopal Reddy Company and Jatadhara Industries Private Limited and sold to different persons after re-registering them in AP in August and September 2018,” said Mr Prasada Rao.

“Our department seized 23 vehicles operating in four districts in the state. We issued notices to the remaining vehicle owners who agreed to surrender the vehicles to the department soon,” he said.

Incidentally, three lorries have been converted into buses and are operating in Anantapur district. Police cases have been filed in the One Town police station in Anantapur. The chassis and engine numbers of these matched those sold as scrap by Ashok Leyland. The department is now trying to find out who registered them and sold them to different people in Andhra Pradesh.

The department is expecting some information regarding this and will serve notices to those involved soon. “We will seize all the vehicles and request the police to initiate criminal action against the culprits,” the RTA official said.

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