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Remove chilli, lemon & anything that hides your number plate, or be ready to face Delhi Police

Delhi Police says just till 5 pm Tuesday, over 250 vehicles were prosecuted for trying to hide number plates. The penalty for the first offence is Rs 5,000, which is doubled for the second offence.

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New Delhi: Do you have a ‘nazar battu (talisman)’ or black ribbons hanging from your vehicle number plate? Is there cement paste that partially hides the numbers?

If yes, then it’s time to stop this practice, or you may find yourself being prosecuted for defective number plates — and the Delhi Traffic police officials tracking you to your doorstep.

Around 150 people have been issued a challan for sealing one or two numbers on their number plates with cement in the last three days, according to the Delhi Traffic Police.

On Tuesday, car owners with items such as lemon, chilli and black ribbons hanging on their number plates were handed a challan.

“In today’s drive, till about 5 pm, more than 250 vehicles have been prosecuted for trying to hide number plate by various means,” Special Commissioner of Police Muktesh Chander told ThePrint.

The penalty for the first offence is Rs 5,000, which is doubled for the second offence.

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Hoodwinking the traffic system

Traffic Police officers said the move was to prevent offenders from continuing the practice despite warnings — many hide even three numbers of their number plate to avoid camera detection.

“This is an attempt to fool the police and law,” said the Special Commissioner of Police.

“They are doing this with the intention of evading prosecution of traffic offences by camera. When the number plate is hidden with these things, it becomes difficult to detect the details on the database to prosecute those committing traffic offences such as overspeeding, jumping of traffic lights and even hit and run cases,” the officer said.

“The trend of hiding a couple of numbers from the number plates with such items has been in our notice for some time, so we decided to start patrolling and challaning people with such defective number plates. This is hoodwinking the entire traffic system ,” the officer added.

Cameras are installed across the national capital to record traffic violations — they click photos each time a vehicle breaks rules and sends the data that includes the vehicle’s number and the type of violation to the control centre database which then issues a notice to the driver concerned.

On-spot e-challans are also issued by police personnel stationed at different locations through Violation on Camera App (VOCA).

“Some individuals also meddle with the digits with markers — make the zero look like an eight, C look like a zero etc,” Chander added.

Catching the offender

The camera always captures the image of the vehicle’s number plate, even if a couple of the digits are hidden. The traffic police then start running the numbers on their database and algorithms detect the hidden digits, giving out details of the owner of the vehicle.

“The digits are run in the system database and once we know that the number isn’t right, algorithms are used to trace the actual number. It is not very difficult to find such offenders because the numbers are always between 0-9. As soon as we get the details, we track down the concerned individuals to their address and challan them,” the Special Commissioner of Police said.

The offenders are also checked for pollution control certificates, and high-security registration plates, among other offences, the officer said.

(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)

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