The Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) of Kerala has just served notices to 65 vehicle owners including cars, SUVs and two wheelers, for illegal modifications. The action took place in Panampily Nagar, in Kochi. A modified Mahindra Bolero was also seized. Called Operation ‘Freaken’, officials of the MVD began the action from Friday evening (22nd March) and carried on till Saturday morning (23rd March).
Enforcement RTO K Manoj Kumar had this to say about the drive,
Action will be taken against owners if they fail to produce the vehicle along with proper documents at the RTO office at Kakkanad on the next working day. The drive would continue in the coming days. We conducted the drive at Panampilly Nagar following complaints from residents in the area. Similar issues were reported at the area earlier and we had acted. But after a brief lull, the issue comes up again. The seized vehicles include an SUV of a non- resident Keralite. The owner altered the vehicle in Delhi spending Rs 7.5 lakh. He fixed additional lights, used powerful silencers and replaced steering. We impose a fine Rs 2,000 for the offence.
Residents of Panampily Nagar have been actively helping the MVD to nab vehicles that have been parked for months on the locality’s roads. Also, the residents have given the MVD details of the modified vehicles that sped away after its owners spotted MVD officials who had arrived to carry out the ‘Freaken’ drive.
Modifications of any kind on vehicles is illegal as per the latest Supreme Court judgment. RTO and other law enforcement agencies can not only fine such errant vehicles but can also seize them and recommend the cancellation of the registration certificates (RC).
Jeep and SUV owners of Kerala, who played a major part rescuing people and delivering flood material relief, during the floods in the state, have also faced action for modifying their vehicles. These owners have given a representation to the RTO stating that the modifications they have on their vehicle are meant to be functional ones, enhancing the vehicles’ capability off the road. However, it remains to see whether RTO/MVD officials accept this explanation and let these vehicles off. For now, any modification on a vehicle is illegal, and it’s best that owners bring their vehicles back to stock condition, or refrain from modifying their vehicles in a big way.
It’s not Kerala’s modified vehicles alone that are facing the heat of the RTO. Officials in many other parts of the country are coming down heavily on modified vehicles as they seek to follow the Supreme Court order in letter and spirit. Just recently, police officials in Maharashtra posed as godmen and beggars to nab owners of modified vehicles, and to destroy the modifications on the spot. More such police action is likely as the drive against modified vehicles intensifies.