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License plate error of Rolls-Royce which Maha CM & DyCMs rode rattles Singhania in Europe

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Mumbai, June 14: When the swanky new Mumbai Coastal Road (MCR) phase II was inaugurated on June 10, Raymond Group Chairman Gautam V. Singhania happily loaned his gleaming 94-year-old vintage Rolls-Royce 20/25 for the event.

Impressed by the sparkling old beauty, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, gave it an eyeful and then plonked on its comfy seats for the short ride on the MCR — blissfully unaware of a tiny error on its number plate.

The jaunt in the car of a bygone era caught the eyes of the nation — and some alert RTO officials and citizens, too — who made a few discreet inquiries that allegedly threw up some unnerving details.

After getting the tip, a Thane social worker Binu Varghese delved into the RR 20/25’s antecedents with the help of RTO officials and discovered that the open-top car was probably plying ‘illegally’ on the roads.

Among the shockers that emerged were: the enchanting RR’s ‘fitness’ validity had expired in January 2024, taxes had not been paid from April 2022, Insurance expired in January 2023, and no PUC after September 2022!

Further deep dive revealed that the RR’s papers had not been transferred from Maharashtra to Telangana for over two years despite getting NOC, and its number plate (MH-04-JU-4733) actually belonged to some truck!

“This means that the car was moving around illegally and even carried some top VVIPs. In case of any mishap, nothing could be done legally as the vehicle was like a ‘laawaris’ (orphan),” Varghese and the officials pointed out.

Upon learning of the purported irregularities, IANS contacted the Raymond Group authorities, for a full reality check on the ravishing RR that attained more fame than the MCR on June 10.

Stunned by the claims, a company official informed Singhania — currently in Europe — of the purported details of his pet RR.

An equally ruffled, Singhania admitted to his team that he was ‘absolutely clueless’ and asked the concerned persons in Thane to check and report.

Company sources said that though it was late evening of (June 13), the garage manager and others rushed to the facility in Thane — where Singhania’s precious collection of beguiling beauties on wheels are parked safely.

A thorough scrutiny of all the official records/papers/documents, plus a physical check of the car, unveiled the ‘culprit’ hidden in full public view — and they all burst out in laughter.

“There was absolutely no problem with the car’s antecedents… All the documentation is in order and currently valid. The issue was merely a spelling error on its registration number plate,” said an official.

“Instead of a ‘V’, (MH-O4-JV-4733) the number plate shows a ‘U’ (MH-O4-JU-4733) — and this would naturally throw up all wrong records of the vehicle,” a senior aide of Singhania reverted to IANS late on Thursday.

The number plate, probably painted by a semi-literate painter, had confused one alphabet — and triggered the wild speculation.

He added: “We thank all the concerned persons for bringing this mistake to our notice and preventing a lot of unnecessary hassles that could have cropped up. We have ordered a new number plate right now and it will be changed immediately.”

As the clouds of suspicion cleared and a brand new number plate adorned the grand old car, the relieved RTO officialdom, Varghese, plus the Raymond Group top brass breathed easy and retired peacefully at night…!

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

–IANS

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