Aspirants are getting driving licences from Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) without sitting for any driving test thanks to a racket comprised of a section of BRTA officials, brokers and driving schools.
The brokers allure aspirants to receive driving licences without appearing at any test and for that they charge each aspirant at least 4-5 times higher than the government-fixed fee.
AKM Hafiz Akter, additional commissioner of Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), said, “Unskilled drivers are being given licences without any test in collusion with some dishonest BRTA officials. For this, the number of accidents is increasing day by day,” he said.
He also blamed driving schools for offering the learners with driving licences in exchange for money. “Driving schools often agree to issue licences as training packages. Different criminal gangs are taking the advantage of this opportunity,” he added.
Asked about those BRTA officials who are involved in such an unholy practice, the DB official said, “We’ve received a list containing the names of those officials. Investigation is underway and action will be taken if they’re found responsible. The matter has already been reported to senior BRTA officials.”
Recently, police arrested several brokers from various parts of the capital. They provide driving licences to people who have no experience of driving and using fake documents in exchange for a large sum of money in connivance with some unscrupulous officers and employees of BRTA.
Farzana Rahman (not real name), who managed a driving licence through a deal with a broker, said, “I know how to drive a scooter a little bit but don’t know how to drive a private car. I’ve made contact with a broker for light vehicle driving licence. The broker told me that he’ll manage the licence without me participating in the driving test.”
Later, the broker arranged the driving licence for her, Farzana said.
Rajib Al Masood, deputy commissioner of DB’s Lalbagh division, said, “There’re reports of some BRTA officials in Turag being involved in the illegal driving licence trade. They’ll be brought to book.”
“BRTA officials knowingly are receiving illegal documents for driving licences. They used to take money from each of them and pass the driving test. Then within a month BRTA officials would issue driving licences,” he added.
The police officer said, “A few days ago, some brokers were arrested. During preliminary interrogation, they said that the BRTA officials had been forging seals and signing police verification reports through forgery. There’re driving licence schools all over the country and most of them are involved in such activities.”
People concerned said road accidents are increasing in numbers in different parts of the country, including Dhaka, as the unskilled drivers are at the steering due to the negligence of BRTA and traffic police.
It was learned that registration of driver training schools is taken from BRTA after paying a hefty sum of money. Addresses of most of the training schools in different parts of the country are fake. Some of them are occupying sidewalks and running activities.
BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder said: “We certainly have some limitations. Even though we’re ensuring road enforcement like police. We’ve received information that the driving training schools are taking money in the name of training.”
While visiting various training schools in the capital, it was seen that most of them do not have proper addresses except several mobile phone numbers.
On February 16, DB arrested 10 brokers raiding different parts of Dhaka. At that time, various items, including 159 BRTA driving licence application forms and dope test files, were seized from their possession.
During interrogation, the brokers said they used to manage driving licences with fake documents in exchange for huge money in collusion with some unscrupulous officers and employees of BRTA.
On September 6 last year, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members arrested 13 brokers from the BRTA office. They had also divulged same information.
The head of a training school in Mirpur, who did not want to be named, said they have to manage BRTA officials and police for running their activities.
He said they arrange licences as per the need of the trainees and to do this they have to pay in many places for which more money has to be taken from the trainees.
The school owner said an address has to be used to get permission for driving school. “Many later changed that address. Some people are running their business by managing police and building small shops on the sidewalk. And for this we have to pay money every month to local administration, including police.”