Last year in December, Ashik Patel, a resident of Ahmedabad, Gujarat won the “007” registration after making a bid for Rs 34 lakh. Now, he has backed out and did not pay. However, he did get the same registration number for his second vehicle by paying only Rs 25,000. The RTO says at least 3% of the bidders change the plan and do not pay for the registration amount.
Ashik Patel, who got the registration number for his Toyota Fortuner, says that he could not pay the full amount of Rs 34 lakh. As per his clarification, he tried paying the full amount online but the system did not accept anything beyond Rs 4.5 lakh. He also claims that there is no provision to pay cash at the RTO and claim the registration number that he won through the bidding process.
The 28-year old transporter had won the GJ 01 WA 0007 for the Toyota Fortuner SUV. He marked up the bid to Rs 34 lakh for the Fortuner, which costed him about Rs 39.5 lakh. However, Patel backed out from paying the bidding amount. He then got the exactly same registration number for his second new vehicle for only Rs 25,000, which is the base price of the registration number.
The Regional Transport Officer (RTO) B Limbachiya said that there are many who use the same procedure to secure high-value registration plates at base price. He also claims that bidders can transfer any amount online through the official website and also said that they accept cash payments as well.
The officer explains that many exploit a loophole in the system that allows them to own a high-value registration number at the base price. He explains that people bid for registration numbers and mark up the price. Later they cancel and the registration number is put on sale at its base price. Anyone who knows that the special number is on sale can request for the same and pay only the base amount to become the owner. So the first vehicle that was used to make the bid online will not be able to get the same registration number but anyone who knows the bidder and has information that the bidder has not paid for the registration can request for the same registration at a base price.
The RTO explains that there are many who back out after making bids. Most people who bid for around Rs 1 lakh and more back out the most. Usually, people who do not pay are the owners of two-wheelers. In some cases, the RTO observes that they are done in collusion to acquire the registration number at a much lower cost. It sure sounds like a scam but the officials have not registered a complaint or are investigating the same.
Registration numbers in India are non-transferable. It is attached to the vehicle and not the individual. This is why the registration number business is not as popular in India as it is in western countries and even the middle east. In places like UAE, people invest in registration numbers and later sell them at a higher price. There is no such provision in India yet.