Car Thefts:Mumbai: Delhi:A paying ‘dhandha’.



As per the National Crime Records Bureau, a vehicle is stolen in India every six minutes, while the industry estimate of the value of stolen vehicles amounts to a whopping Rs.1,000 crore per year, with passenger cars forming a major chunk of it. The data for the period 2003-05 reflect a 23 per cent increase in vehicle thefts.

Recovery rate is less than 20 %.

Police keep claiming arrests and recoveries every month.

What happens to those arrested?

They are out on bail in a short time, and back ‘Dhandha as usual”

Biggest receiver of stolen vehicles in Delhi is held

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8


The anti-auto theft squad has claimed to have busted a gang of auto lifters. One Rajan Chhatri, the biggest receiver of stolen vehicles in North East is arrested.

On August 6, an information was received that the accused would go towards Silliguri through Defense Colony, in a stolen car. Acting on a tip off, the police reached the spot and arrested the accused. The alleged accused have been identified as Raja Chattri and Deva Lama. Reportedly, a stolen car is recovered from their possession. They are involved in the theft of more than 100 cars.

Extracts

MUMBAI

THE GREAT USED CAR BAZAAR

India’s Financial Capital, Mumbai, Has Become The Biggest Supplier Of Stolen Cars To The Rest Of The Country

Vijay V Singh | TNN

Mumbai: Mumbai’s emergence as the hub of the autotheft industry in India may have to do with your parking problems, believe senior police officials.

“Too many cars and too little parking space mean people have to park their vehicles far from office or home and often on the road itself. This gives thieves more time to break into cars and drive away with them,’’ joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said on Thursday.

The emergence of “specialists’’ is another reason for worry. “We now have key-makers who specialise in different models. There is Jugnu who specialises in breaking into Innovas and there is Istehar who handles only Scorpios. They give the industry an extra edge,’’ an official from the western suburbs said.

Around 3,500 cars are stolen from Mumbai’s streets every year. “We have arrested members of 21 gangs specialising in car thefts in the last 10 months,’’ joint commissioner of police (crime) Maria said.
But that recovery rate, admit officials, is abysmally low, especially with stolen cars used in terror plots adding a new — and sinister — dimension to the problem.

The increasingly “organised nature of the industry’’ and growing “specialisation’’ among car thieves — plus lack of cooperation from other states — are the principal reasons for this low recovery rate.

“This racket is very organised. We have unearthed several cases in which cars were stolen after orders were placed from bihar,’’ an official said. Most cars stolen from Mumbai end up in northern states (like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) and the seven northeastern states and even Nepal.

“All these states (and Nepal) have one thing in common: the roads there are very bad. So many of the orders that thieves here get are for the tough multi-utility vehicles that can take bad road conditions in their stride,’’ he added.

There are usually four links in a car-theft chain and officials here say it becomes virtually impossible to get back a stolen car after the chain enters another state. The first link in the chain is usually a secondhand car seller in another state. He gets in touch with his agent who, in turn, calls up a Mumbai agent and it is this person who talks to the person who steals the car.

“The Mumbai agent can almost never lead us to the agent from another state and that is where the lead goes cold. This is the most important reason for the low rate of recovery,’’ an official said.

WHAT THEY DO Most thieves follow a similar modus operandi after they steal your car or two-wheeler

The licence plate of the car is changed and it is kept at an isolated spot for a few days. This is done to ensure that the car is shipped out or sold off only after cops slacken their hunt after some time. A car is seldom repainted or remodelled. The receiver (or the first buyer) of the stolen car sends across duplicate papers to the car thief; the forged papers are often from other states. The car is sold or, in many cases, driven outside the state with the new licence plate and registration papers after the heat is over.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO Follow this procedure if you lose your car

Go to the police station and lodge a complaint immediately; this will help you clear yourself of any blame if your car has been stolen for use in any criminal activity. Inform your insurance company and the RTO.

Insurance firms insist on a police certificate, saying your car has been stolen and cannot be traced; this comes after 90 days to give enough time to the police for a probe. Insurance claims are usually settled in two weeks; but account for depreciation with time when you get the money. THE BIG GUNS A few key players control much of the car-theft racket in city

THE SUPPLIERS

MUBIN QURESHI has more than 100 car-theft cases against him; but he is in jail right now.

MULCHAND GUPTA runs Qureshi close on the history sheet; he is on the run and is under the scanner for the recent thefts from Navi Mumbai.

ASIF alias GUDDU and RAJA BHAIYA head two other gangs of car thieves in the city; cops do not know the whereabouts of either.

THE RECEIVERS
MANIGANDHAN from Tamil Nadu works differently; he gets in touch with car thieves and comes to Mumbai every time there is a consignment and then drives the car back to TN; he has been caught once but is now out on bail.

RAJU SONI is another big name who sells cars stolen in Mumbai in other Indian states; he is on the run.

THE VOLUME OF BUSINESS
Around 3,500 cars are stolen from the city every year, making Mumbai the largest supplier of stolen cars.

Mumbai: Stamp Duty Muddle: Flat Owners Harassed


Flat owners told to pay stamp duty arrears of earlier tenants

Nauzer Bharucha | TNN

Mumbai: Thousands of flat owners queuing up everyday to take advantage of the state government’s stamp duty amnesty scheme have been left totally confused due to the lack of clarity in its implementation. As per the scheme, which commenced in June, flat owners have until September 8 to pay stamp duty at the rate that was applicable when the property was bought.

But what comes as a major jolt to many is a little known 2006 circular issued by the state inspector general of registration and controller of stamps which holds that the
current owner is liable to pay the unpaid stamp duty of the previous occupant of the flat at the current market value.
“If there has been a chain of transactions involving a flat over the past two decades and no stamp duty has been paid as required under the sale deed, the present owner must pay the stamp duty on all the earlier sale deeds,’’ said Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of the Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association. “Not many people know that such a circular exists,’’he added.

A senior official of the stamp duty and registration department at the old Custom House in south Mumbai told TOI that it was the duty of the owner to find out all the details of the property that he\she was purchasing.
Amnesty Scheme

The amnesty scheme was announced early this year. People who had evaded stamp duty on their property purchase agreements can now regularise their transactions with a token penalty of Rs 500 for stamp duty of Rs 25,000 and a Rs 1,000 fine for stamp duty over Rs 25,000. Once the scheme ends on September 8, residents will have to pay a 2% penalty on the total duty amount per month from the date of the flat’s purchase, with the maximum limit being 200%. WHOSE DUTY IS IT? Flat Owners Told To

Pay Levy That Previous Buyers Of Their Homes Didn’t Clear

Mumbai: Although a flat owner may have paid his stamp duty, he is liable to also pay the duty that previous owners of his flat did not pay, said a state government official who sits at Old Customs House. However, he hinted that discussions were on within the department to see how this issue could be resolved.

A 2006 circular calls for the payments on previous agreements. “Any legislation with retrospective effect is regressive. What makes this especially odious is that it holds the current incumbent of the property liable for taxes on past transactions that earlier did not attract such stamp duty,’’ said an angry Suresh Mehta, resident of a cooperative housing society in the western suburbs. “It also threatens him with confiscation of his property just because he is a soft target.”

The issue surrounding the 2006 circular has come up while stamp duty defaulters are being identified so that they can clear dues under a current amnesty scheme. “Unlike other amnesty schemes which are aimed at earning revenue from tax dodgers and willful defaulters, this one aims at making legitimate duty payers declared as defaulters for no fault of theirs,’’ Mehta added.

Chembur resident Sanjay Kothary, one of the thousands wanting to take advantage of the amnesty scheme, said, “How can any flat or shopowner produce documents as far back as two to three decades on transactions he was not a party to? In most cases, he may not even have been born and the parties that were involved may have died or emigrated, making it impossible to get sale deeds.’’

Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of the Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association, pointed out another lacuna.

“People who have purchased flats between 1980 and 1985 are being told they have to pay stamp duty on the current market value. The department’s strange logic is that between 1980 and 1985 there was no provision to collect stamp duty on the sale agreement, but it was to be recovered at the time of conveyance as per the current market value,’’ he said.

For example, if a person purchased a flat in 1980 for Rs 1 lakh, the stamp duty then would have been a mere Rs 11,000. But now, the department wants him to pay the stamp duty on the present market value. If the flat costs Rs 1 crore today, the duty works out to a hefty Rs 5 lakh.

Prior to July 4, 1980, parties tended to enter into an agreement where people grossly undervalued properties. It was only later that the government introduced the ready reckoner rates to determine the true value of property.

Prabhu also complained that the allotment letters issued by societies to flat owners were being rejected by the stamp office. On the other hand, allotment letters issued by Mhada were being accepted.
WHAT IS STAMP DUTY
Stamp duty is a tax collected by the state government on different documents executed in the state as per the Bombay Stamp Act, 1958. The Act specifies 63 documents, one of them being the agreement for property sales

Before December 10, 1985, stamp duty was only Rs 5 on the agreement for sale. But the second document executed after the transaction—sale deed/transfer deed/conveyance/possession letter—carried a stamp duty of: 10% for upto Rs 50,000, 12% for Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh and 15% for over Rs 1 lakh

On December 10, 1985, the government amended the Bombay Stamp Act by merging the agreement for sale and sale deed. Stamp duty on residential properties was reduced to 1% for property worth upto Rs 2.5 lakh, 4% for Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, 6% for Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh, 8% for Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh; and 10% for over Rs 10 lakh

In 2004, the state reduced the maximum slab to 5% for all properties valued over Rs 5 lakh

AMNESTY SEEKERS’ PROBLEMS

While pre-1980 and post-1985 agreements can be stamped on market rates at time of purchase, officials want to use prevailing rates to stamp 1980-85 agreements

State has not issued directives for documents executed prior to December 10, 1985

People don’t want to pay duty on past transactions

Serpentine queues. Clerks refuse to accept documents

People claim that the officials themselves areconfused.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED

To avail of the amnesty scheme, fill up the prescribed application form available with various stamp offices located at Old Customs House, Fort; MMRDA headquarters, Bandra-Kurla Complex; and Collector of Stamps, near Chembur flyover

Notarised affidavit giving details of the property Original property agreement

One piece of evidence proving date of execution of document, such as electric bill, BMC assessment bill, phone bill, share certificate, ration card, passport, etc

Society letter showing area of flat, year of construction, floors, city survey number, etc

Rule is ‘morally unfair’

Kumar Sambhav | TNN

For the residents of Green Field society in Lokhandwala Complex Andheri (West), Vijay Ranglani is the person who is supposed to answer their housing queries. But on the amnesty scheme, the secretary of the society has no answers.
“People are asking a lot of questions, but I am unable to give a convincing answer. What can I do when things are unclear even from the law’s side?’’ asked Ranglani. “Nobody is clear on which road to follow. We have approached the MMRDA and the Stamp Collector’s office, but they also are confused.’’

He said flat owners are unwilling to pay duty on previous agreements. “People say it is morally unfair for them to pay for agreements not related to them,’’ he explained.

Ranglani said the laws should not be so complicated. “The process should be simple. If a person has not paid the duty on the last agreement, he or she should be fined for that only and the flat should be regularised,’’ he added.