ibnlive » India

Aug 04, 2007 at 10:23am IST

Political lobbying can get you a VIP number

New Delhi: The recovery of over 50 luxury cars with VIP number plates being associated with just one person clearly suggests that somewhere there was scope for corruption.

Ashok Malhotra, a canteen operator in Delhi’s Assembly started as an auto driver and ended up owning a fleet of luxurious cars. But how did this one man buy 50 cars and arrange as many VIP number plates? CBI is probing the matter to answer these questions.

Why the VIP number plates?

For many people, it is a matter of social pride to stamp their swanky car with a swanky license plate. And the process to get these numbers most often starts with using the right contacts. The VIP numbers don't cost any extra money but it's the recommendation that is paramount. These numbers are issued on due approval of the transport ministry.

The person applying for a VIP number needs to fill in a simple form, which is available at the transport minister's office. Most often the numbers are issued on the recommendation of an influential person, someone who has a lobby with the transport minister himself.

About 200 such applications are received by the ministry everyday. The applicant can list his preference and why he wants a VIP number, after which, a letter and a receipt is issued by the transport department, accepting or turning down the request.

It is believed that Malhotra's alleged proximity to certain politicians allowed him these luxuries. He apparently got the cars listed under different names and the transport department has so far identified 8 such names.

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