ACB registers case against traffic officer, recovers over 130 licenses

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Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday registered a case against ARTO Kupwara and two other officials of the department besides an agent following a surprise checking during which Rs 15 lakhs were recovered on Wednesday.

According to ACB, the case was registered against Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi, ARTO Kupwara, Khursheed Kanna and Abdul Hamid Bhat, Motor Vehicle Inspectors, besides Bilal Ahmad Sheikh (Agent working in office of ARTO Kupwara).

“A joint surprise check was conducted by Anti Corruption Bureau into the allegation that ARTO Kupwara has planted one person namely Bilal Ahmad Sheikh of Vilgam Kupwara to run all the affairs of his office like Travel Test, Replacement of Driving Licence, Fitness, Learning Licence, Audit Approval, Registration and Print Card for collecting money by illegal means,” the ACB said in a statement issued here to GNS.

The joint surprise check was conducted at the site of driving test (Nagri Kupwara) in association with Executive Magistrate 1st Class Handwara.

“During surprise check accused Bilal Ahmad Sheikh was found actively involved in conducting the driving tests with the officials of Assistant Regional Transport Office, Kupwara,” the ACB said, adding, “The search of personal Car (JK01R-4373) of Bilal Ahmad Sheikh on spot at the site of driving test, led to the recovery of 138 original driving licences besides various other incriminating material like provisional appointment slips for driving tests, application reference slips, application for addition of new class of vehicle, journey sheets of vehicles, transport plans, learners licence, handwritten details regarding tests held on 04.08.2021 etc.”

Consequently, a case FIR No.09/2021 has been registered in police station ACB Baramulla under section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and section 120-B of Indian Penal Code against Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi (Assistant Regional Transport Officer Kupwara), Khursheed Ahmad Kanna (Motor Vehicle Inspector), Abdul Hamid Bhat (Motor Vehicle Inspector) and Bilal Ahmad Sheikh (private Agent) for improper performance of public duty in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy, it said.

During initial investigation, it came to the fore that there is a deep nexus among accused officers of Transport Department and the private Agents (brokers) to fleece the general public, the ACB said.

To break this unholy nexus, ACB conducted searches of residential premises of Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi (ARTO Kupwara) at Nowshera Boniyar Baramulla and residential premises of Bilal Ahmad Sheikh (Agent) at Vilgam Kupwara in pursuance to the warrants issued by Court of Special Judge, Anti Corruption, Baramulla.

“During searches, Rs 15 lakh cash and various incriminating material having bearing on the case have been recovered,” the ACB said, adding, “The investigation is going on.” (GNS)

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