Kerala RTO starts crackdown on modified vehicles in state with operation 'Freaken'.

After the latest order from the apex court of India banning any kind of modifications on vehicles in India, now Kerala’s Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) has started crackdown on modified vehicles in the state. In a new series of action against the modified vehicles in state, the authorities commenced the ‘Freaken’ operation. Under this new initiative Kerala MVD authorities issued notices to nearly 65 owners of cars, SUVs and two-wheelers found violating the latest Supreme Court of India directive regarding the modification of vehicles. The authorities in the state began the operation on evening of 22nd March and it went on till the morning of 23rd March. Among the seized vehicles was one modified Mahindra Bolero from Panampily Nagar in Kochi.

The authorities had local help too as the people of Panampily Nagar were eagerly aiding the authorities in taking action against the modified vehicles that had been parked on the area’s streets since quite some time. As the authorities began taking action, some owners also decided to flee, but the residents outsmarted them and handed the details of the modified vehicles to the officials on the spot.

Enforcement RTO K Manoj Kumar was contacted about the initiative and the officer said the following:

Action will be taken against owners if they fail to produce the vehicle along with proper documents at the RTO office at Kakkanad on the next working day. The drive would continue in the coming days. We conducted the drive at Panampilly Nagar following complaints from residents in the area. Similar issues were reported at the area earlier and we had acted. But after a brief lull, the issue comes up again. The seized vehicles include an SUV of a non-resident Keralite. The owner altered the vehicle in Delhi spending Rs. 7.5 lakh. He fixed additional lights, used powerful silencers and replaced steering. We impose a fine Rs. 2,000 for the offence.

The latest Supreme Court ruling states that such vehicles registered under Section 52(1) of Motor Vehicle Act of India should strictly follow the original specifications of the manufacturer and makle no alterations to the same. The ruling goes so far as to say that not only such vehicles can be fined and seized by the authorities, but the officials can also cancel the registration certificates of such modified vehicles.

Earlier there were reports that modified Jeep and SUV owners of Kerala had petitioned against the Supreme Court ruling. They had made their case that the modifications on their vehicles are highly functional and increase the utility of the modified vehicles. A strong point in their case was that these modified vehicles played a major role in rescue operations in the recent devastating floods that Kerala went through. As of now, there has been no word on whether the pleas of the disgruntled owners of SUVs and Jeeps will be heard, but the Supreme Court of India’s ruling still abides though.

This recent crackdown on modified vehicles has not been limited to Kerala alone, different parts of the country have also been witnessing similar crackdown on modified vehicles. In a recent case in Mumbai, the police took the guise of godmen to get hold of such modified cars at traffic junctions.

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