Friday, November 7, 2014

Road Under Construction Causes Accident - Engineers Booked - TOI Bangalore

For probably the first time, ever, two BDA engineers and a project-in-charge manager were on Friday arrested by the Bangalore traffic police in connection with a ghastly road accident. The accident on September 3, due to an unpainted divider, killed two persons and injured one near Outer Ring Road in Devarabeesanahalli, exactly opposite Accenture and Ecospace tech park.

The arrests are said to be the direct outcome of a meeting chaired by Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B Dayananada a few days ago instructing all traffic police officials pin the blame on and arrest BDA and BBMP engineers in-charge of badly-maintained roads in case of fatal accidents.

A first for city: 2 Engineers held for road mishap
(Above) Mangled remains of the vehicle which rammed into the median, killing two and injuring one. (Below) The clumsily-placed hazard board at the median in front of theDevarabeesanahalli flyover following the accident. 
Confirming the arrests, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic East) Babu Rajendra Prasad told Bangalore Mirror, "We have arrested AEE K Sripad Raju and AE Pradeep from the BDA, along with project manager Vittobha from Simplex Infrastructure Private, to which the work of maintaining the roads and completing the project had been outsourced.''

The trio has been booked under sections 279 (negligent act on a public way), 304 (A) (causing death by negligence), and 337 (causing hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others). Dayananda told Bangalore Mirror: "I have instructed the traffic police to book cases against the concerned civic officials wherever their fault is found. In this particular case, the engineers and project manager were arrested for failing to paint the central median with reflective paint and install sign boards cautioning drivers on the road about the barrier."

Sources said that after the accident, a small reflector board held up by stones has been placed at the site. However, even this is said to be not very visible. Sripad Raju told Mirror, "Road safety is a different job and it has to be implemented by B-Trac. Painting and putting up sign boards is work that is supposed to be taken up by the traffic police. The accident occurred because of rash driving and not because of incomplete work. Putting the blame on us and holding us responsible is not done in this case." However, Prasad said: "If the work is incomplete, why do they deem the road safe enough for motorists to ply? They should close off all roads until the roads are completely ready for travel. We also held a meeting with BBMP and NHAI officials the day before yesterday where we apprised them about all problem junctions in the city that needed to be addressed in terms of lighting and road repairs."

Source - 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Right to Repair - The Concept

The Cars these days have to be taken to the specific Brand Service centre, and you are literally at their mery of their Monopolistic Trade Practices.
These are the Scenarios in a Monopolistic Car Market:
  • "We owned a Honda CRV which we had to take to the dealer to find out what was wrong. The dealer charged us $100 to look at it and tell us we needed a new $3,400.00 transmission. They said it would be dangerous to drive it away. We took it to a transmission guy who fixed it for $80.00!!!! [...]" 
  • "Consumers need to have a good look at this and understand how convenient it could be to have a qualified local repair facility perform work on their vehicles. For instance in most cases when entering a dealership for repairs a service writer will take your information and then PUFF your car is gone into space. [...]"
  • "i own a 2000 volvo that ran fine but the service ligt was on and i needed a master key for the trunk , when i took it to the dealer i got a key for 90.00 and they told me the service light was on because of the electronic module for the shifter and [...]" "First let me say I have never been moved to action on a bill until today. As an owner of a (2008 A6 Audi) I scheduled service for 3 basic items and one intermittent issue with AM/FM radio reception that I asked to be looked at. The items, you ask? Oil change, battery in my [...]"
  • "I would like to ask you to support the “Right to Repair” legislation….I love my local mechanic, and trust him to do what is right for my car. As Massachusetts “patriots”, we deplore the attempt to remove another RIGHT, another FREEDOM!! Please stand with us!!!"
  • "My wifes car (1998 Subaru Forester) had a failed water pump, and ABS light on . I called the Subaru dealer and was told the Timing belt had to be changed as well as H2o pump as the pump is behind the belt: Water pump= $500.00 Timing belt $700 to $800 depending if they had [...]"
  • "Took my Subaru in for a check-up. It had a flat tire and the dealership tried to charge me double the tire cost!"
  • "Our 2001 VW Eurovan has had a running problem for some time. We got a free diagnoses from a VW dealer in the mail and decided to take advantage. The result was a number of faults indicating major engine internal repair and timing chain replacements as “only the beginning of problems” that would result in [...]"
Here comes the Need to assert our "Right to Repair"

Right to Repair, is a name for several related proposed bills in the United States Congress and several state legislatures which would require automobile manufacturers to provide the same information to independent repair shops as they do for dealer shops. Versions of the bill have generally been supported by independent repair and after-market associations and generally opposed by auto manufacturers and dealerships. Since first introduced at the federal level in 2001, no version of the legislation has become law, until the Massachusetts legislature passed H. 4362, a Right to Repair bill on July 31, 2012.

Subsequent to bill passage the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, Coalition for Auto Repair Equality, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association for Global Automakers signed a Memorandum of Understanding that is based on the Massachusetts law and which would commit the vehicle manufacturers to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts law in all fifty states.

Global Right to Repair

The European Union has passed Right to Repair and an aggressive effort is currently underway in Canada. Right to repair is clearly a global issue whose time has come.

What Right to Repair Does:

Reaffirms the owners’ right to repair their automobile and keep their families safe.
Promotes consumer safety by allowing owners or their auto technicians’ access to the computers that control the systems and components that affect the safe operation of their automobiles.
Permits owners to choose the repair shop and the replacement parts to service and maintain their vehicles.
Authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate regulations to protect consumers and to promote competition in auto maintenance and repair. 

What It Does Not Do

It does not take a manufacturer’s intellectual property.
It does not affect the dealer’s warranty agreement with the vehicle manufacturers.
It does not require manufacturers to disclose manufacturing processes or trade secrets. About The Right to Repair Act

The Right to Repair Act is bipartisan legislation that would require automakers to provide the same service information and tools to independent auto and maintenance shops, as well as to consumers, that the automaker dealership service centers receive.

Right to Repair legislation does not attempt to restrict motorists from choosing car dealerships, it simply ensures that vehicle owners have a choice when deciding where to take their vehicles for repairs and what parts are best to use in maintaining their vehicles. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality urge Congress to support the Right to Repair Act to give consumers a choice and keep repair costs down. It's the right thing to do for consumers, for business and the economy.

Now that India too is crowded with foreign Brands of specialized Cars, its high time, We, The People, demand our Right to Repair.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Car Insurance Fraud Alert

Earlier this month, the IRDA issued a caution note to the public warning against such calls, especially those that pretend to be from the authority. “IRDA does not involve itself, directly or through any representative, in sales of any kind of insurance or financial products and does not announce any bonus for policyholders or insurers,” the notice said.

A car company representative in charge of its insurance operations in the city said that the culprits get details of vehicle owners from Regional Transport Offices. They zero in on policies nearing renewal period and call posing as vehicle company representatives. “We advise customers not to divulge details of their policies to such callers. There have even been instances of fake receipts been given,” the representative said.

“Your vehicle insurance is due on XX date. If you apply for XXX insurance instead of the existing one by this weekend, you will get 60 per cent off on your premium. This company has a tie-up with us.”

If you receive calls like this and do not cross-check with your vehicle company, you may fall prey to what even the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has claimed is an increasing number of spurious calls making “fictitious and fraudulent offers”. And they do not spare anyone — not even a former Chief Minister.

One such customer recalled how he nearly fell prey to the call. “I had even readied a cheque, but the vehicle company called me in the nick of time. The caller also did not follow up because I chose to stay with the existing policy, not the one they were offering,” he said.

The IRDA has time and again urged the public to remain alert against frauds or scams perpetrated by those who claim to be employees of the authority or other insurance companies and lodge a police complaint if they come across such calls. 

Karnataka state Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Hemanth Nimbalkar said that the police had not come across any such complaint so far. 

Source - The Hindu

Friday, October 3, 2014

Criminal Activity using TrueCaller - Police arrest a Habitual Extortionist

A Extortion attempt, using the features of the True Caller App, has been innovatively used by a habitual criminal.
This Accused "saved new mobile numbers in the name of HNS Rao and the jurisdictional SP on Truecaller. He also got four of his friends to do the same thing. He would then source contact details of officials raided by the Lokayukta and call them using the number. With Truecaller flashing the names and details of the ADGP and SP, gullible officials would succumb and pay up. Lokayukta officials have received 27 complaints against Kambar over the last three years. "

Claiming to be Lokayukta police chief, he extorted money from those raided by the anti-corruption watchdog

A few days after he was raided by the Lokayukta police on June 11, Ashok R Bhat, assistant conservator of forests, received a call from a man who introduced himself as HNS Rao, ADGP and chief of the Lokayukta police wing. The caller merely told Bhat that the local SP of the Lokayukta police would call him shortly and disconnected the call.

Shortly later, Bhat received another call from a man claiming to be DS Siddegowda, SP, Karwar. The caller told Bhat that he was in touch with Rao and promised to brush his case under the carpet. Bhat had no reason to suspect the true identity of the caller since he had installed the Truecaller app on his phone and in both instances the names of the caller — HNS Rao and Siddegowda — flashed on the screen.

A few days later the man claiming to be the SP called again asking Bhat to deposit Rs 50,000 into a bank account. Bhat obliged and some days later Bhat again received a call from 'Siddegowda' asking him to hand over Rs 2 lakh to settle the case. However, before Bhat could pay up, he learnt that he was being taken for a ride by a clever former police constable who cleverly used Truecaller, the online 'verified' telephone directory app, to extort money from a number of government servants.

Murugappa Ningapppa Kambar, 48, who was dismissed from service after he was caught trying to extort money, smartly preyed on the gullibility of government servants who were raided by the Lokayukta. Police have found that in the last three years, Kambar had extorted at least Rs 12 lakh. Most of extortion happened right under the nose of police — while he was in Dharwad Central Prisons. Police have found that at least 27 officials had fallen prey to his scheme. Kambar is now facing 17 cases in different parts of the state.

Besides the Rs 50,000, Kambar had tried to extort Rs 2 lakh from Bhat, but officials stumbled on his scheme when Bhatkal MLA, Mankal Vaidya, heard of Bhat's case. Vaidya informed Lokayukta Bangalore DySP, M Narayana, of the calls Bhat had received from the 'ADGP' and 'SP', Lokayukta. A team of officials including city SP, Dr BA Mahesh and Narayana launched a probe into the case. The details they uncovered shocked the team.

They found that Kambar, a habitual offender — he was arrested twice in 2012 for extorting money from government officials in the name of Lokayukta police — saved new mobile numbers in the name of HNS Rao and the jurisdictional SP on Truecaller. He also got four of his friends to do the same thing. He would then source contact details of officials raided by the Lokayukta and call them using the number.

With Truecaller flashing the names and details of the ADGP and SP, gullible officials would succumb and pay up. Lokayukta officials have received 27 complaints against Kambar over the last three years.

"If somebody is caught, s/he usually reforms," a police officer said. "But this man went a step ahead — he used technology to extort money. His Truecaller modus operandi is perhaps the first of its kind. When we learnt of the Bhat incident, a case was immediately booked at Mundugod, Karwar. Our probe led straight to Kambar and he openly confessed details his operation."

Police found that the bank account Kambar had given to his victims was in the name of a fellow jail inmate who hailed from Bihar. That man was jailed in an road accident case.

"The case was reported in Karwar where the accused had used my name," Rao told BM. "I advise public servants not to yield to these pranks. Officials must double check. They can contact me, the DIG, SPs or the Lokayukta office to verify." 

Source -