| The number plate on the SUV used by Chandrashekhar Dubey at Bhelatand on June 25. Picture by Gautam Dey
Dhanbad, July 14: The Tata Safari, which is without a registration number, has been on the road for at least three months — borne out by photographs taken by digital cameras that recorded the date and the time.
But though this is in blatant violation of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules, police dare not seize the car or book its owner, Chandrashekhar Dubey, who happens to be the Congress MP from Dhanbad.
“Let him try this in the national capital,” says an angry transport department official while pointing out that even a temporary registration number is not valid after a fortnight. Permanent registration numbers do not take more than 10 days to be issued, he points out, and therefore no vehicle can be on the road with the two letters from the English alphabet, AF (Applied For), scrawled on a flimsy piece of paper, even for a day, leave alone three months.
What is infinitely worse is that the MP has not even bothered to apply for a registration number, confirmed officials in the motor vehicles department.
Had he done so, they said, the car would not have been without a number for so long.
Indeed a personal staff member of the MP said casually that the number would be put up at an auspicious moment, implying that the last three months have been rather inauspicious for Dubeyji.
What would happen if the car gets involved in an accident that results in a casualty, wondered officials. The victim, in all probability, would go without any compensation while the police would have no registration number of the vehicle to record, they exclaimed.
What is more, instead of the number plate, the vehicle sports a plate that boldly identifies the occupant or the owner as a “member of Parliament”. The vehicle also has a red beacon light, which MPs are not authorised to use. Both are illegal. But police and transport department officials here plead helplessness.
When asked for his comment, Dubey was terse. “Are you aware you are putting this question to a member of Parliament,” he exclaimed, with his voice laced with irony. Clearly, Congress MP Chandrashekhar Dubey alias Dadai Dubey, in the news for abusing the Bokaro deputy commissioner in a meeting, is not a person to be trifled with.
He would get the number when he feels like it, said the MP airily. “I am a member of Parliament and I will get it soon,” he declared while questioning the authority of this reporter to ask such “silly” questions. One of his associates, R. Pandey, asked the media to mind their own business and blurted out, “don’t forget that there are UPA governments at both the Centre and the state”.
“Any vehicle moving on road with AF scrawled in place of the number plate is liable to be confiscated and penalty can be imposed for flouting the law,” claimed an official before adding, “but this is Jharkhand, my friend.”