The criminal case can go on for years and we can’t even sell the scooter.
BHPian SedanGuy recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
Hello everyone I wanted to talk about how my wife’s Honda Dio was stolen, found, and how difficult it is to traverse the Indian justice system.
Everything began on May 28th, 2022, when we left our beloved two-wheeler overnight parked outside our gate. We currently have one covered parking space for a car and two covered parking for bikes and we own 2 cars and 2 bikes. We park the second car in front of the gate which houses the 2-wheelers. That night as usual, our second car was parked in front of the gate for two-wheelers, and we made the lazy choice to leave the scooter outdoors for the night. The scooter was gone when we got up the following morning. We were unable to obtain video of the incident because none of the homes or businesses in my lane had CCTV.
I went to the police station right away to report the scooter missing. This is when I realised the police don’t just hand out FIRs. As soon as I reported the theft, the constable told me the inspector is on rounds and requested me to check a few police stations nearby to see if any of the officers have picked up any suspicious abandoned vehicles. I checked all of those stations, but the bike was nowhere to be seen. I reported the same at the station. Thankfully, the inspector had returned by that time. Instead of taking my complaint, it was advised that I wait for a week or so to see if it showed up anywhere. He kept telling me that once FIR is filed there are a lot of procedures and I will be stuck in court work for a long time. He promised to notify all stations of the missing vehicle and to get in touch with me if he heard anything.
I didn’t have time to deal with this situation because I was in the middle of relocating my house. However, I would call the inspector for updates every few days and get no response. I also visited the station a total of four or five times, but each time I was told to wait. On my last day, I informed the officer that I needed to make an insurance claim and need FIR. He promised that if we don’t locate it in the next two weeks, let’s file an FIR. I did not have a comprehensive policy for the bike and knew it won’t turn up. This was in July. More than 45 days had passed since the incident and I had lost patience with the cops. By that time, I had moved houses and needed to travel for work, so I gave up on the bike and declared it a total loss.
Fast forward to October and my wife gets a call and the caller id said it was a police officer. My wife gave the phone to me and sure enough, it was an inspector from Tirunelveli. He informed us that they have found a scooter with the wrong number plates which did not match the vehicle and based on the engine number they identified my wife as the owner of the bike. He asked us to provide FIR or the complaint copy to start the legal process. We then were elated by the news but it was to be short-lived. We immediately reached out to the police officer in Bangalore and informed him that we need the FIR. As soon as I told him about the FIR he started denying that he never interacted with me and I might have been mistaken. Clearly, he was trying to shift the blame. However, after some convincing, he recollected me and told me that I should have followed up and raised the FIR. I don’t know how many more days I should have tried to get an FIR. Apparently, 45+ days were not enough. To some extent, I should have seen this through in the first place but I was dealing with cops for the first time in my life and it was frustrating to deal with such an inefficient group of people. Again after 3-4 visits and persuasion, we were able to get the FIR.
We sent the FIR to the cop from Tirunelveli in November after about 20 days after his first contact. We expected the bike to be handed over once we shared the FIR but we were so wrong. The cop then told us that in order to get the bike, Bangalore police has to come and complete the legal process and take it back. In no circumstance was the bike to be released to the owner. I tried to speak to the Police here. I even offered to pay for their expense and they totally dismissed me saying you just visit Tirunelveli, and they will release it. Thankfully I was able to find a family friend based out of Tirunelveli who visited the police station in person and spoke to them in Tamil and got clarification.
This is where the story gets absolutely bonkers. The cop who reached out to us had not let us in on the whole story. Apparently, the bike was seized when the Tirunelveli cops raided a local gangster who was wanted in all kinds of crimes. They had seized multiple vehicles which included our humble Dio as well. We were one of the suspects in the case because there were no outstanding FIRs on the vehicle when it was found. Thank god that we acted swiftly and got the FIR which quashed their suspicions. Our bike was one of evidence for the crimes the person was accused of.
Our family friend involved a lawyer and filed a petition of getting our bike discharged from the impound lot. After a week the petition was accepted and the bike was ordered to be released under a few conditions:
Failing which the owner will be held in contempt of court. This brings us to the current day. Now we don’t know how to proceed. The conundrum is that we have no contacts in Tirunelveli who can store the bike and produce it in court every time it’s requested for. If we store it in Bangalore, we cant surely take the bike every time it’s requested in court. We don’t have the time to be in court that is 700 kms away. The criminal case can go on for years and we can’t even sell the vehicle. However, the way we try to make sense of this situation is just going to end up being a costly affair for us. I fail to understand why a common man has to go through this ordeal when he is in no way related to the crime but rather a victim.
Thank you for reading my story. If you have suggestions, I am all ears.
Here’s how our bike looked when we got the pictures from the impound lot. Breaks our hearts to see it in such a pitiful state. The last picture was a few months prior to the theft.
Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:
Police are hesitant to straightaway file an FIR as it becomes an additional task & to-do list item for them. They have to submit reports on it. The process of opening & closing an FIR is cumbersome. And many times, the complaint solves itself within 7-14 days
But in such a situation:
- Try filing an FIR online
- Send a registered letter to the police station detailing the theft
- Physically submit the letter to the police station and take a “received” or “acknowledged” stamp from them on a copy of the letter
- Hire a lawyer
It’s a cheap vehicle. Best, let it stay with the police only. You’ve anyway written it off as a total loss.
I completely understand your predicament. But from the court’s point of view, it could be a vital piece of evidence in the story. Never know. The defence lawyer could point to a missing link in the chain to get an acquittal for the gangster.
Here’s what BHPian iamswift had to say on the matter:
Sad to read your story and highlight the pathetic condition of our judicial system which is stuck in the 1900s.
I think you have two options:
- Take back your vehicle back to Bangalore and pray that the court never calls you.
- Leave your vehicle in the impound and forget it. Mentally you had written it off anyways.
I have a slight tilt towards the first option. There is a good chance the court/staff needn’t inspect it and the call may never come.
How is the condition of your vehicle? Is it usable? Can it be returned back to its sheen? If not, better go for option 2.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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