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‘Unable to pay Rs 18k fine to release seized vehicle’, Ahmedabad auto driver attempts suicide

A 48-year-old autorickshaw driver from Gomtipur area of Ahmedabad allegedly tried to end his life Thursday morning by consuming phenyl, claiming that his livelihood has been affected after Traffic Police seized the vehicle one-and-a-half months ago.

Raju Solanki, who is the lone breadwinner of his family of four has been unemployed for the past one-and-a-half months, and the regional transport office (RTO) had issued him a memo of Rs 18,000 over pending third-party insurance since his vehicle was seized, his relatives said.

Police said Solanki consumed a few drops of phenyl at his residence in Rajpur area of Gomtipur on Thursday morning, after which he was rushed to LG Hospital.

“We visited the victim in the morning hours. At the time he claimed he had taken the extreme step due to financial distress. However, in the afternoon, he claimed that his auto has been seized for the past 1.5 months with a memo of Rs 18,000 by the RTO,” Gomtipur police station in-charge CB Tandel said. “We have not seen the memo yet and the victim is still in the intensive care unit of LG Hospital.”

Solanki’s family said he had grown all the more paranoid after the newly implemented Motor Vehicles (MV) act was introduced in Gujarat.

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Solanki’s son Ujjwal Solanki (22), an MSc student, said, “My father’s auto was parked at Mithakali six-road intersection when it was seized by a traffic inspector. The vehicle was not insured so he got a memo of Rs 18,000. He was not able to pay that much money, so his vehicle has been kept at the RTO since. He consumed phenyl after being unemployed for 1.5 months. Since the new MV act came into effect, he became all the more paranoid. The victim’s family consists of his wife Beena Solanki and two sons who are aged 22 years and 12 years.

Commenting on the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic administration, Tejas Patel said, “The auto rickshaw driver must have other pending dues as well, which then must have accumulated into such an amount. The vehicle was seized and memo was given as per procedure.”

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