Kohima, February 05 (NEx): Greed Crimes – Stolen Vehicles is an article in continuation of a series of articles on ‘Law’, written by Shri Rupin Sharma, IPS, to educate people about the process of Law in matters of crime to create awareness and bridge the gap between law and people.
The topics covered are:
What are DCRB/ SCRB/ NCRB and CCTNS?
What purpose do DCRB/SCRB and CCTNS service in case of stolen vehicles?
How can CCTNS or NCRB database be useful for public?
How can Vahan Samanvay be used – Police/Public?
Is Vahan Samanvay result reliable?
What if I buy a stolen vehicle?
Law In Motion – 25: Greed Crimes – Stolen Vehicles
Let me continue where I left off on the issue of Stolen vehicles. In the previous article, I had delved into the context and the process to be followed if your vehicle is lost/stolen. Now I proceed to answer a few other common queries:
Q6 – What are DCRB/ SCRB/ NCRB and CCTNS?
Ans 6– DCRB is District Crime Records Bureau and the letters S and N stand for State and National. The CCTNS is the modern ‘avatar’ of the crime records bureaux. In their previous avatars, the Police Stations where all Crimes get reported used to prepare reports and files in paper and pen. In the Police Rules and Manuals of almost all states, elaborate and extensive forms and formats were prescribed. These forms and formats were prescribed for maintenance at the Police Station level, District level, Zonal/ Range levels (DIG/IGs) and at the state level with the PHQ.
When the initial structure of police computerisation was conceived, the DCRB was the fulcrum of the efforts. All the police stations had to submit
‘STANDARDISED FORMS’, duly filled up, for ‘inputting of data’ by ‘computer
operators’ at the level of the SP office. The unit doing this ‘inputting’ was called DCRB.
Similarly, at the state level, the data was compiled by the SCRB which in turn submitted the records for NCRB. The NCRB was tasked with compiling statistics at the national level. The system of DCRBs and SCRBs later evolved into the Common Integrated Police Application called CIPA in 2004-05. The CIPA conceived of PS as the basic unit and aimed at digitization of crime and criminal records. The CIPA also worked through DCRBs & SCRB Units in the police hierarchy.
In due course of time with better connectivity and developments in
information Technology, it was felt that inter-linking of all Police Stations in the country is necessary and desirable for helping in investigation and providing CITIZEN-CENTRIC SERVICES unless inter-linking was done this would not have been possible. This requirement led to the conceptualisation and implementation of the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System) in 2009. In the CCTNS, the Police Station is the basic functional unit for inputting data. The data can be inputted in an online or offline mode where internet connectivity is poor or unavailable. The CCTNS now can be used to help in investigation by accessing various databases or prepare reports -statistical as well as supervisory reports.
In due course of time, the CCTNS is also sought to be subsumed into a bigger system – Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) which will cater to and integrate police and policing data with other arms of the criminal justice system – (a) Courts, (b) Prisons, (c) Prosecution and (d) Forensics and Fingerprints.
Q6 – What purpose do DCRB/SCRB and CCTNS service in case of stolen vehicles?
Ans 6 – In its modern ‘avatar’, the CCTNS provides an updated database of, among other things, stolen vehicles too. This data base includes data about the Engine numbers, Chassis no, Registration no, owner details, colour and model etc. for all stolen vehicles. This is because the police stations are mandated to enter all such details in the CCTNS as and when an FIR is registered. This database is, at least, hypothetically, query-able from any PS in any state in the country. Therefore, once the FIR is lodged and data incorporated in the CCTNS, the police can query this database. Besides this, once entered here, all other police stations also are theoretically aware of the vehicles been stolen.
However, currently, most states have not de-centralised the querying facilities for the policemen in the streets or nakas. If this was to be done, potentially, every policeman would have a ‘RED FLAG LIST’ whenever a vehicle is stolen or a checking is conducted by them. Besides this, the NCRB maintains a nation-wide database of stolen vehicles too.
Q7 – How can CCTNS or NCRB database be useful for public?
Ans 7 – The stolen vehicles database of NCRB has been in existence for almost 30 years now. This database contains details of all stolen vehicles – all cases reported in the country. Some of the records are even 40-45 years old. The
database is regularly updated by: –
(i) Adding details of new stolen vehicles;
(ii) Deleting records of vehicles which have been recovered/ seized and
(iii) Adding new features to the database.
Even the public can potentially query the stolen vehicles database and find out whether a particular vehicle is stolen or not. The CCTNS data and NCRB stolen database has been created into a separate VAHAN SAMANVAY (Vehicle Coordination) service.
The Vahan Samanvay service is also available on mobile phones – both Android and IOS (Apple) ones. The Motor Vehicle Coordination System (Vahan Samanvay) is designed to coordinate stolen and recovered motor vehicles. In addition to police, the Regional Transport Officers and Insurance Sectors have been incorporated as stake holders in the system.
Q8 – How can Vahan Samanvay be used – Police/Public?
Ans 8 – Vahan Samanvay apps have 2 (two) different interfaces –
(a) for police/RTOs/Insurance companies and
(b) for General Public.
While the Police, RTOs and Insurance Companies can use the database to
investigate or for registration of vehicles or settlement of Insurance claims, the
General Public can use it for obtaining NOCs, in case they want to purchase
second- hand vehicles. The NCRB website has a link under the section Vahan Samanvay for a genuine download of the app. Third party apps are also available on Play Store but NCRB app is reliable and authentic.
Using this app which is based on CCTNS, any user can check/verify for himself whether a vehicle he intends to buy is from a genuine owner or re-seller or is a stolen vehicle. The whole process of checking does not take more than a couple of minutes. The reports can also be printed/screenshot taken for
Q9 – Is Vahan Samanvay result reliable?
Ans -9 – The quick answer is YES.
However, the yes comes with a bundle of ‘ifs’. The CCTNS and the apps are only going to give results based on the INPUT DATA. Therefore, if the input data is incorrect, the results could be faulty or unreliable. These mistakes could be due to unreadable handwriting (by complainant or the investigation Officer) or incorrect entries at the time of typing the data in the CCTNS computers.
I have mentioned above that an FIR should be insisted upon by the complainants. Please do not be satisfied by GDEs or Complaints. Most GDEs and complaints which do not end up as FIRs, do not get entered into the CCTNS either. This leaves gaps in the CCTNS and also the Vahan Samanvay. Besides this NON-ENTRY or Non-Registration of FIRs, the other reason for Vahan Saamnmvay results being unreliable at times could be the delays in DATA ENTRY into the CCTNS/Vahan Samanvay.
Imagine a scenario where a police station merely keeps a complaint informally or makes a GDE without an FIR for 3-4 days. This time is enough for the vehicle lifters to travel from Nagaland to Delhi or elsewhere. A good quality vehicle can easily travel 500-600 kilometres a day a journey or duration in
which it can be tampered with easily.
Therefore, please insist on an FIR immediately. Delays in registration of FIRs or inputting data into CCTNS are both equally undesirable activities and unpardonable acts – at least
Delays in registration of FIRs or inputting data into CCTNS are both equally undesirable activities and unpardonable acts – at least administratively.
Whether it is to supress crime figures or due to lethargy and apply apathy, Police does not register FIRs in all cases of vehicle thief’s. This is counterproductive. It is a classic case of GIGO-GARBAGE OUT. The practice of immediate registration needs to be encouraged.
Q10. What if I buy a stolen vehicle?
Ans:- One can be sure that the law will catch up sooner rather than later, you
are indulging in criminal act.
You may think that you are getting a brand-new second-hand vehicle at a very competitive price or very cheap, but at the back of your mind, you also have a GUT FEELING that there is something wrong. It is almost impossible, for example to get a one- or two-year-old vehicle at half or less than half the market price, surely something is wrong.
The seller may possess all the documents or may try to pose as a genuine seller in distress but please do not fall into this trap- he is exploring your greed. Greed where you have thrown all caution to the winds.
If you are caught with the vehicle, you could face the following consequences:
(i) Being dispossessed of the vehicle by police;
(ii) Arrest by police;
(iii) Being taken away by the police for investigation after arrest;
(iv) Repeated visits to police stations for investigation;
(v) Having to hear advocate/ lawyers for fail or for trails in courts;
(vi) Having to offend time in police custody or even in fail in jail-till bail is granted.
(vii) These legal/monetary consequences are in addition to the loss of face or reputation in the society.
(viii) In legal terms, depending on how and under what circumstances you
purchased a used-car which was a stolen vehicle, you could be considered only as a Receiver Or Stolen Property or even a conspirator in the thief of the vehicle.
Besides this, if you have friend involved in preparation of forged documents, you could be charged with forgery.
To be continued……….