The Colombo Fraud Investigation Division has commenced an investigation into a racket involving vehicle registration books being sold unbeknownst to the owners of vehicles with the aid of corrupt officials of the Department of Motor Traffic.
This has come to light following investigations into complaints received regarding such books being prepared for vehicles in households without the knowledge of the owners of the vehicles and subsequently pawning the said vehicles to leasing companies and lessors.
Investigations revealed that a fake book had been registered for a vehicle owned by a businessman in Borella under the one day service, two months after the said Department had been notified with copies of the Police complaint that the vehicle owned by the said businessman, worth over Rs 3.2 million, had gone missing. Along with the said fake book pertaining to the said vehicle, a similar vehicle had been shown and the vehicle’s book has been pawned for Rs 1 million.
The information and details of persons who notified the Department that their vehicle registration books were lost and therefore were applying seeking to obtain a photocopy of the said books after proving their ownership, were being given to outsiders and external parties by the racketeers and were preparing fake vehicle registration books for such vehicles and selling them. At vehicle rental places which rent vehicles out for these fake books, vehicles similar to the ones in the books are taken and shown.
For certain vehicles, books have been prepared and the vehicles had been pawned to the leasing companies and leasing facilities had been obtained. When the vehicle owners don’t pay the loan instalment on the due date, seizers come to take the vehicle away and it is only then that the vehicle owners come to know that fake books have been made for their vehicles and that the vehicles has subsequently been pawned to leasing companies. On the pretext of buying vehicles that are advertised for sale in newspapers, information and details are obtained and books have been prepared for such vehicles and sold too.
A stock of books containing information and data pertaining to the said vehicles had gone missing from the Department and the said books also include books sans any entries and also those with the relevant batch numbers. The Colombo Fraud Investigation Division has discovered 36 such vehicle registration books.
Last year, the Division arrested a Commissioner’s driver along with a quantity of stolen books.
An investigator has shown that because the public had not been made aware of the lost batch of books, the racket was continuing on a daily basis.
Police investigations have further revealed that the relevant authorities were attempting to save their hides and sweep the racket under the carpet by stating that they could not find the documents pertaining to the transfer of ownership in the possession of the Department including the vehicles’ transfer of ownership forms (MT06) in the container at Werahera. The investigation has commenced under the aegis of the Division’s Director Rohan Premaratne.