NEPALGANJ, April 21: Police on Saturday busted a huge fake driving license racket in Nepalgunj.
Police arrested 36 people, including Rishiram Rimal, proprietor of Butwal-based SK Driving Institute, from Jaljala hotel in Nepalgunj.
Similarly, 55 people including Santosh Sharma, proprietor of Nawalparasi-based Nawalpur Driving Institute and Buddhi Bahadur Nepal, proprietor of Chitwan-based Hamro Motor Driving Institute, from Hotel Capital in Nepalgunj.
Most of the total 91 people arrested had come to Nepalgunj all the way from Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Butwal to obtain driving licenses without undergoing trials and written exams.
The owners of various driving institutes, who were also arrested, had brought license seekers to Nepalgunj by three different buses on Saturday, promising them fake driving licenses. They had also changed all three buses in Butwal to avoid police scrutiny.
When a police team raided Jaljala hotel, SK Driving Institute owner Rimal was distributing fake licenses to his clients while taking their thumbprints on a record book of Bheri Zonal Transport Management Office. Rimal, after being arrested by police, said: "I did this for money."
Police say other members of the fake license racket fled when the raid was conducted. However, Banke police chief SP Bikram Singh Thapa said, "I will get to the roots of the racket. No one will be spared."
Police suspect that employees of Transport Management Office may be involved in the racket. The seizure of the record book has also given credence to police´s suspicion. "The record book cannot reach the hotels without the support of government officials," said SP Singh.
However, Gopal Sharma, chief of Bheri Zonal Transport Management Office, has claimed that the record book, which was seized by the police from the hotel, is not original. "The original record book is safe in our office," said Sharma. "The seized record book cannot be original."
According to police, the racket was planning to collect at least Rs one million from license seekers. Those who were ready to get fake license after failing to pass driving trials had paid Rs 6,000-Rs 15,000.
“I came to Nepalgunj after failing the driving trial in Butwal," said Umakanta Duwal, one of the arrested.