The Delhi government has written to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) seeking a vigilance inquiry into alleged lapses and tampering with the SARATHI software after coming across irregularities in issuance of driving licences in the city.
On its part, the state government has also suspended three Motor Licensing Officers (MLO), who were heading the New Delhi, Surajmal Vihar and Vasant Vihar transport zones, and reshuffled MLOs across all 10 zones.
The irregularities came to light during raids carried out by Special Commissioner (Transport) K K Dahiya on August 29 after the department found an “abnormal rise” in the issuance of driving licences in the three zones.
On September 1, Dahiya wrote to the Director General of NIC flagging the violations in the software developed and maintained by the organisation. Lapses he highlighted include issuance of licences without videography, tampering with the software and bypassing of pincode restrictions.
Due to the pincode-related violations, the three zones that are under the scanner were entertaining driving licence applications from far off areas.
“Major irregularities were detected in issuance of driving licences and necessary disciplinary action is being recommended against the officers and staff of these zones. The transport department had repeatedly directed the NIC that the DL applications are to be received strictly as per the pin code of the area and the NIC had prepared the SARATHI software accordingly.
“It was gathered that some gaps were left in the NIC Sarathi software and there is a likelihood that with some inside information, the shortcomings in the software were misused by the touts and applications of other zones were entertained at these places without any pincode restrictions,” Dahiya wrote, adding that a CBI case has already been registered against one tout.
The Transport Department also requested the NIC to carry out a vigilance inquiry and replace NIC officials in Delhi’s MLO offices with a new set of staffers to rule out “connivance of any official at any level” and a fair probe.
There are five automated test tracks in the city. Two more such tracks will be made functional within the next fortnight and another two by December, following which there will be no manual tests.
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