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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Crackdown on car rental agencies

Vehicles leased from `rent-a-car' operators in the city are being used for criminal activities, G. Anand reports

UNAUTHORISED AGENCIES that rent out private vehicles for self-drive are under the scrutiny of the city police. The City Police Commissioner, Balaram Kumar Upadhyaya, said that vehicles leased from "rent-a-car" operators in the city were being increasingly used for criminal activities.

This month, vehicles hired from "rent-a-car" agencies were involved in two incidents of gangland violence in the city. The police have sent a report to the Motor Vehicles Department seeking action against the owners. Rent-a-car agencies have been asked to keep a logbook of their operations for police inspection. The registration details of vehicles available for hire should be submitted to the police, he said.

The Joint Transport Commissioner, K. Padmakumar, said that "drive yourself" rent-a-car service was legalised in India as part of a Central Government Scheme in 1989. As per the scheme, rent-a-car operators have to register their agencies with the Regional Transport Officer.

However, many agencies in the city are operating car rental services without Government permit. Sources said that vehicles leased out by such agencies also include those owned by the police and RTO officials. According to the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) sources, several corrupt officials have invested in luxury vehicles bought in the name of relatives and friends. Only a few ``rent-a-car'' agencies in the city boast their own fleet of vehicles. Many others operate by sourcing vehicles from private individuals. Authorised car rental agencies in the city are no more offering vehicles for self drive. V.S. Syamnath, owner of a car rental agency in the city, said cheques given as security deposit for vehicles have bounced and luxury cars given on rent found abandoned in a bad shape.

The Fort police had recently busted a motorbike rental agency at Paruthikuzhy on the charge of leasing motorbikes to youth arrested on charges of chain snatching.

The Deputy Transport Commissioner (South Zone), V. Raveendran Nair, said the Motor Vehicles Department was contemplating action against tourist taxi services and car rental agencies operating without license.

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