Yesterday, we ran a story about how the RTO in Kerala seized and dismantled a Maruti Baleno illegally modified to look like a Mercedes Benz A-Class. There’s more to this story than meets the eye. Let us explain.
First, the backstory.
The first owner of the Baleno, let’s call him Owner A bought a car and gave it to a friend, let’s call him B. B got the car modified at Thrissur, to make it look like a Mercedes Benz A-Class.
Then, A and B have a dispute about something, perhaps about the modified car itself. A goes to the cops and the cops promptly seize the car from B. Then A and B reach a compromise, and the cops give back the car to A.
Now, here’s the second part.
A sells the Baleno to another guy, let’s call him C. Angry at A, B complains to the cops about something that involves the car. C then realizes that there’s some case on the car, and decides to get out of this mess by simply selling it off. C then puts the car on sale at OLX – an online marketplace meant mainly for used goods, and the car is sold to D. However, the name isn’t changed in the registration certificate. The cops, who’re now following up on B’s complaint about A, promptly seize the car again, but this time from its latest owner – D.
Here is a video with the cop explaining how it all panned out on camera. You’ll have to know Malayalam to understand it though.
So, the loser in all this drama? D. Why? Because he bought a car already had a ongoing legal case on it. Now, D neither has the money, nor the car with him. The cops are likely to return the car only after the case is solved, which in India, means a few years at least. The biggest takeaway from this whole episode is that, as a buyer of an used car, it’s very important for you to do your due diligence about the car’s ancestry, which also includes ownership checks. You also need to make sure that there’s no legal case against the car you’re buying.