Police on March 15 last year seized a mini-truck for using it to attempt a robbery. Since then, the vehicle has been kept at Cumilla Sadar South Police Station. Despite this fact, the mini-truck (Chattogram Metro-NA-11-2608) got its fitness certificate in November.
The fitness clearance was issued from Barishal circle of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority without any inspection, which is a serious violation of the Road Transport Act-2018 and the relevant orders.
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Finding the allegation to be true, the BRTA on Tuesday suspended responsible vehicle inspector Pranab Chandra Nag and attached him to its headquarters in Dhaka.
But this is not a standalone incident. A similar incident took place in July last year when a seized truck got its fitness clearance without any inspection.
Some brokers in collusion with a section of unscrupulous BRTA officials received fitness clearance without even getting the vehicles to its offices concerned, sources at BRTA said.
This correspondent talked to two people who also had fitness certificates of their vehicles renewed with the help of brokers without visiting BRTA offices and they said did so “to avoid hassle”.
The lapse in the process came to the fore at a time when questions are being raised about the quality of the BRTA’s inspection itself, which is generally carried out manually before issuing fitness clearance.
Unfit vehicles are considered a major reason for road accidents, which saw a sharp rise in recent years.
THE CUMILLA CASE
Debashis Chowdhury, officer-in-charge of Cumilla Sadar South Police Station, said they seized the mini-truck when some men were preparing to commit a robbery using the vehicle.
Police arrested two of them and recovered some sharp weapons from their possession, the OC told The Daily Star last night, adding that the mini-truck was still in their custody.
A BRTA official told this correspondent yesterday that while the vehicle was impounded at the police station, Pranab Nag issued the fitness certificate to the unfit vehicle on November 23 without inspection, which is a negligence of duty and a gross violation of the authorities’ order.
The authorities investigated the matter following a media report and took punitive action against the official as the allegation was found to be true, he added.
In July last year, BRTA suspended inspector Nur Mohammad Toha of Narayanganj circle for issuing fitness clearance to an impounded truck. The vehicle was seized after it got involved in an accident.
The truck ran over and killed three people, including an eight-month pregnant woman, in Mymensingh’s Trishal upazila on July 16 last year. The vehicle was seized by police from the spot.
At that time, BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder had told this newspaper that they were trying their level best to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and that they already sent out a strong message to all officials that stern actions would be taken if anyone was found involved in such incidents.
But a similar incident took place again.
This correspondent could not reach the BRTA chairman for comments as he didn’t respond to calls yesterday.
A BRTA official said if a departmental probe finds an official to be involved in such irregularities, he may be handed a maximum punishment of sacking.
However, officials found guilty of such irregularities are often pardoned, he added.