Film-TV actor Vinod Kovoor, who got into serious trouble after approaching a driving school to get his licence renewed, can now breathe easy as he has got his driving licence back after nine long months.
"It feels like clearing the class 10 exams," said Vinod.
Apparently, Vinod’s licence was suspended after the driving school tried to forge a licence for him and several others by stealing the password of a motor vehicle inspector.
Here, Vinod recounts how his licence got suspended though he has not done anything wrong, the nine months he could not drive and the joy of getting the licence back.
“I did not drive at all during these nine months. My brother, a lawyer, had insisted that I don't drive during this period. I drove only after I got my licence online. My first drive after that was to receive an award named after Vaikom Muhammad Basheer. So, it was a double delight. When I get the hard copy, I plan to take my wife to the Mookambika temple," Vinod said.
Family travails in between
The artist also narrated other ordeals that compounded his misery.
"I had to appear for road test for getting the licence. I suffered a lot during these nine months. I had to take a driver along wherever I had to go or take a vehicle on hire or travel by a bus or train. Three months ago, my mother was hospitalised in Kozhikode in a serious condition. During that time, I had a shoot in Ernakulam and needed to take any available bus and train to reach near her after my work. I travelled like that several times. It was a harrowing experience," he recalled
Delhi visit too
"There are no offices that I haven't visited to solve this issue: the cyber cell, RTO as well as those in Thiruvananthapuram and even Delhi. As the PARIVAHAN portal showed that I had a valid driving licence I could not apply for renewal either. As that flaw needed to be removed I went to Delhi and got it updated. But nothing was easy. Since a section clerk was on leave in an office, I had to wait a month for his signature. Somehow when I managed everything, tests were not being conducted due to COVID-19 curbs. Finally, I could take the test when the new RTO got involved and received my licence. It is a feeling very similar to passing class 10 exams," he said.
Threatens legal action
Vinod has learnt a lesson the hard way.
"No one should be fooled like this. You should not let driving schools handle such things. I learned it the hard way. Instead, visit the RTO office, pay a small fee and get it done. Akshaya centres also offer such services," he remarked, while also expressing his intent to claim compensation and sue the culprits.
"Ironically, when I was scrambling to catch the bus or an auto, the same people who left me in trouble were seen enjoying their travel in cars. That was the saddest part. I had not done anything wrong but had to shuttle between offices for nine months. No case has been filed against them yet. Hacking into government portals is a big crime. They should get the punishment for that. At the same time, they should also pay me all the money that I spent during these nine months as compensation. I will take legal recourse for that."
The actor is confident of a positive legal outcome if he indeed pursues that option. At the same time he is thankful to those who backed him during the myriad visits to offices at various places.
"Some people made fun of me saying that I was trying to influence them since I have money. Luckily, all the conversations with the representative of the driving school had been recorded. I could present this as a proof in the RTO and establish my innocence. The RTO, cyber cell SI Rajeev Puthalath, Pradeep sir, transport minister and several others helped me in this regard. I thank them all for their help," he added.