Hyderabad: Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Rammohan has got hold of a fancy number, all nines, TS 09 FD 9999, for a record low price of Rs 50,000.
That was the base figure for the auction at the Khairatabad Road Transport Authority office.
This year, the auction of fancy numbers has fetched about Rs14 lakh, against Rs30 lakh in a single day previously.
Last time, the same number, with a different alphabet series, TS 09 FC 9999, had been auctioned for the high price of `9 lakh.
The winning bid was by Tollywood director Jagarlamudi Radha Krishna who owns a Rs1.37 crore Porsche Cayenne.
Usually, in order to acquire special number plates, customers register online and if there is more than one person bidding for the same number from the available series, then the number will be put up in an open auction and the highest bidder gets it.
However, when it comes to the mayor, there was reportedly no competitor. P. Durga Prasad, Khairatabad Regional Transport Officer (RTO), said his office had received only one application for the all-nine series and, according to the rules, the lone person who applied would get it.
According to highly placed sources, there were others interested in getting this number, but they backed out after learning that Mr Rammohan was in the race.
The sources explained that word spreads about VIP applications and for these there is no official bidding.
The department has earned Rs14,59,320, which is comparatively low. According to RTO officials, fewer vehicles are bought after Sankranthi, and that has a direct effect on the fancy numbers as well. The highest bid was Rs2,10,500 by Intercontinental Publications for the number TS09 FE 0009, followed by Rs1.6 lakh by Deep Corporation for TS09 FE 0007.
Asked about the low price, Mr Rammohan said, “It is the official GHMC vehicle for mayor, not a personal one. I didn't even go to the office to get that number and influence the bidding. It just happened that our application turned out to be the solo one. We were not even aware that there were no other bidders. Even if there was, we had no issues.”