Delhi court grants bail to five people in corruption case related to auto permits

A Delhi court has granted bail to five people arrested in a case of corruption at the Burari Transport Authority here in which auto permits were allegedly transferred fraudulently and using forged documents, causing loss of revenue to the government.

Special Judge Jay Thareja noted that the probe agency was contemplating the examination of more than 5,000 transfer of permits at the Authority and that this exercise will take substantial time to complete.

Thus the accused “cannot be kept in judicial custody for such a long time,” the court said while granting bail to the accused Anil Sethi, Ravinder Kumar, Anoop Sharma, Ajit Kumar and Deepak Chawla on September 6.

The court noted they had spent sufficient time in custody since their arrest on June 29.

“I find the bail application of the accused is liable to be allowed because a majority of the other accused, who are facing much graver allegations in contrast to the subject accused, have been granted bail,” the judge said.

The judge said “no useful purpose is likely to be served by keeping the accused in judicial custody”.

The judge, meanwhile, imposed various conditions on the accused persons, including that they will not go within 500 metres of the Burari Transport Authority without taking advance permission of the court, not try to contact or influence, directly or indirectly, any of the witnesses of present case and shall not tamper with evidence.

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The Anti Corruption Branch of the Delhi Police had alleged that there was a cap on auto rickshaw permits in Delhi, fixed at one lakh, and out of the that one lakh auto rickshaw permits in Delhi, 70 per cent were being traded illegally, on account of nexus among financiers/dealers of auto rickshaws, touts and officials of the Authority.

It claimed the effect of the nexus was such that an auto rickshaw, whose on road price was Rs 2.46 lakh, was being sold in Delhi at a price of Rs 6.30 lakh and no ordinary person/auto rickshaw owner was able to get anything done at the Authority without going through the nexus of financiers, dealers and tout there.

“During the investigation, the investigating agency (ACB) further found that the financiers/dealers of auto rickshaws, touts and the officials of Burari Transport Authority, have grossly misused the faceless scheme introduced by the GNCTD during the COVID-19 epidemic and managed illegal transfer of thousands of auto rickshaw permits, including transfer of autorickshaw permits of dead and untraceable persons, resulting in huge loss of revenue to the GNCTD as well as massive exploitation/harassment of owners of auto rickshaws in Delhi,” the police alleged.

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