Chandigarh: The raids by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau have made a big disclosure of the corruption and irregularities going on in the transport department of the state for decades.

Sources in the Vigilance said that the direct and indirect role of officers at the district and division levels in these irregularities is coming to the fore in the preliminary investigation.

Vigilance officials said that after the raids at the RTA office of a district, when the whole matter was investigated, it came to light that fitness certificates were issued to the vehicles by the Motor Vehicle Inspector without checking them. Not only this, the vehicles carrying school children were also being issued certificates without testing.

Vigilance officials say that although this may be due to the shortage of inspectors and other staff, but the way agents are dominating the offices of the Transport Department and more than Rs 12 lakh has been recovered from an agent in Jalandhar, it is clear that the fitness certificates of the vehicles are being issued with money. Vigilance officials said that after receiving complaints regarding irregularities and corruption in the regional transport authority (RTA) offices, the Bureau on Wednesday conducted surprise inspections at seven districts in the state including Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Mansa, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur.

Officials said that during checking, the vigilance bureau teams seized the suspicious record of issuing fitness certificates to the vehicles from the motor vehicle inspector (MVI) and the concerned RTA offices. Cases have been registered against the officers and agents at Patiala, Jalandhar and other places in this regard.

As per the transport department rules, all commercial vehicles have to obtain a fitness certificate from the RTA office to ply on the roads and all such vehicles are required to be inspected by the MVI itself in the concerned office along with the documents.

During the investigation, it was found that the MVI used to only sign. The vigilance officials said that the officers in different districts in connivance with agents and middlemen issued fitness certificates without physical verification of vehicles in lieu of huge bribe per vehicle on the basis of model of vehicles.

Thus, some RTAs and MVIs were passing the vehicles by physical examination only on the basis of documents without self-inspection, which are required to be brought to the designated place for on-the-spot inspection.

Further investigation of the state-level inspections is underway and if anyone is found guilty, strict action will be taken as per law.

Vigilance officials say officers at the DTO and RTA level may be called for questioning soon. The transport department has been considered to be dominated by agents and middlemen for decades. Due to the vigilance raid, the DTO and the RTA And state-level departmental officers are in a state of panic, a senior vigilance officer said.

On Wednesday, The Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrested a Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) Jalandhar and two private agents here today and seized Rs 12.50 lakh as bribe amount from them.

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