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Police say that the bus, despite being old and out of service, was granted a fitness certificate by the Mandya RTO.

Did negligence of RTO officials lead to the Mandya bus accident that killed 30
news Death Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 11:47

The tragic death of 30 persons in Karnataka’s Mandya district after a private bus plunged into a canal has raised suspicions on the quality of buses plying the roads in the district.

According to the police investigating the case, the bus, which was named “Rajakumara”, was over 15 years old and was still being used to ferry passengers.

“Buses which are over 15 years old need to be commissioned out. They cannot be used to carry passengers. The bus was given a fitness certificate (FC) by the RTO, which has raised suspicions,” the police said.

According to Section 56 of the Motor Vehicle Act, vehicles cannot ply on roads without a fitness certificate. A fitness certificate determines whether the essential parts of the vehicles like the engine, brakes, lights are in working condition. Private buses have to renew the FCs once in 15 years and they can be issued only after thorough inspection of the vehicle.

Police now suspect that the FCs were being issued without adequate checks by the regional transport office. Police say that the bus, which was fell into the canal on Thursday, had been suspended from service in Mangaluru and that it was bought by a private company in Mandya at a throw-away price.

“There are 456 registered buses plying in Mandya. But there are over 100 buses which have not been registered. We are trying to find out how these buses obtained FCs and why the checks were not conducted,” the police added.

Investigating officers say that they now suspect that Motor Vehicles Examiners at RTOs may have been accepting bribes to issue FCs to buses which do not meet the safety norms.

According to the Motor Vehicles Act, the vehicles must meet 60 parameters laid out in order to obtain the FCs. The officers will take over two hours to check one vehicle. However, police say that in Mandya, over 250 FCs are being issued every day, leading to the suspicion in discrepancies.

The police took the bus conductor Thandava into custody on Monday evening and are questioning him.

“We arrested the bus conductor but the driver, Mahadeva, is still absconding. We suspect that the driver and conductor jumped out of the bus before it plunged into the water and absconded,” the police said.

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