The Kerala State Police has fined a whopping Rs. 4.9 lakh fine on a MINI Cooper recently. The hatchback was registered in Jharkhand and was by motor vehicle inspector Eldose Varghese during a routine vehicle inspection. The cops also found out that the vehicle was fitted with an aftermarket exhaust, which is illegal by law.
During the routine check, the police flagged down the Mini Cooper after the cops noticed that the vehicle speeded up and crossed the permitted speed limit at Kaloor, Kerala. According to the E-Vartha, Jharkhand registered Mini Cooper S was first seized and then was returned to the owners after the fine was paid. It is not known if the cops issued a fine to the owner for the aftermarket exhaust too or the owner was only fined for carrying out-of-state registration number.
The Kerala state police force started a crackdown on the out-of-state registered vehicles some time back and many popular celebrities were caught too. The out-of-state registration allows the customer to save money on the registration tax of the vehicle, which is very high in Kerala. Most of the customers from Kerala choose to get the Puducherry and Daman registration number as they are Union Territories and the car registration tax is extremely low. High-profile celebrities including actors and politicians have been caught in the past for the same reason.
In the past, Rajya Sabha MP and Malayam movie star – Suresh Gopi received an FIR for evading Rs 13.3 lakh tax on this brand-new Audi Q7. He got his vehicle registered from Puducherry instead of Kerala where he resides and uses his vehicle the most. Amala Paul, a popular actress also allegedly evaded a registration tax of 23 lakh for her brand new Mercedes-Benz S-Class in Kerala. She reportedly faked her documents to get the vehicle registered in Puducherry. Both Audi Q7 and the S-Class owners only had to pay around Rs 1.5 lakh each in Puducherry for registration of their vehicles. This cost-saving measure had put a lot of car owners under the scanner of the Kerala Police.
That not all. Movie star Fahad Fassil was arrested for evading the road tax in Kerala and get his vehicle registered in Puducherry. Mr Faasil got is high-performance Mercedes-AMG E63 registered in the nearby union territory, which must have saved him quite a good amount of fine. He was later released on bail.
Kerala state government announced a special scheme for such out-of-state registered vehicles last year. Under the scheme, the government allowed people to pay the road tax for Kerala and avoid getting arrested for fined by the cops. Many such customers came forward to pay the local road tax in Kerala. One such Bentley Continental GT owner, Sayed Nazeer paid a fine of Rs 60 lakhs, which is around 20% of the cost of the Rs 3 crore vehicle.
In Kerala, it is not illegal to drive the car with out-of-state registration plates. Such vehicles are allowed to ply for 11 months after which the vehicle owner will have to pay the road tax in Kerala and get a local registration number. This can be done by obtaining NOC from the RTO where the vehicle has been registered.
Due to the high tax structures in a few states, owners of such luxury vehicles get their vehicles registered in the neighbouring states. The only solution to the problem is the a uniform tax structure throughout the country. However, such a tax structure is still years away from becoming a reality in India.