So, the difference between ex-showroom prices and on-road prices of cars differs for different cities. The difference comes from state and municipal road taxes being different for different places. A Mercedes C200 Avantgarde hits the Thane roads at Rs 33.2 lacs and Mumbai roads at 34.8 lacs. So, you see many such cars belonging to people living in Bandra West and SoBo and Juhu having a MH04/MH06/MH43 registrations (I believe these 3 registrations are for cars from New Mumbai, Thane, Raigad). Pronto ! You save a cool Rs 1.2 lacs if you get your car registered in these places even if you live in interiors of Mumbai. Easy, yes ?
Well actually, no ! You need to fabricate an address for these places where some address proof has to be manufactured with your name. The agents take care of all that, I believe possibly at Rs 5000. You will move with that address on the registration papers all your life (I mean the car’s life with you). If caught by cops for some offence, please do remember this address so that it matches if the cop asks you – else, you will be in trouble. Easy, no ? Well, this seems like a minor issue, which has 1% chance of cropping up in case of some major traffic offence.
Moving to the larger issue – why do wealthy people cut corners at the risk of some potential embarrassment ? The U-turn outside my colony is so placed that we cannot take it because it is just 20 m ahead of my colony. So, we have to go a km ahead, take the next U-turn and reach home. But the more ingenious amongst us take the U-turn close to the colony and but do not turn U completely – they drive straight onto the wrong lane for 20m only and dash in into the colony. That this 20m is on the Sion-Panvel highway is a minor detail. I see Fortuners and Accords and even Mercedeses staring my driver in the eyes as we end up facing each other on that 20m stretch. My ex-boss in Gurgaon, Mr K had a similar 50m stretch near his DLF Phase 1 home and being Gurgaon, there were enough smart people who used to do the 50m dash. Mr K used to tell his driver to block the cars coming from the opposite direction, used to get out of his BMW, go to the offending driver and explain to him that being educated, why was he doing this ? I had found that really awesome !
Possibly, the yearning of wealthy people “to get the best deal in every aspect of life or to win every point in every match” might be driving them to commit such offences. “Why to leave any money on the table ?” is something such businesspeople learn while negotiating for each bolt and nut in their businesses. This is possibly spilling over to their life as well, and the last Rs 1 lac is saved thus while registering their BMW or Merc in Navi Mumbai. They are smart, go-getters and will win / save on all deals in their lives.
Avoiding paying easy taxes falls in the similar category, albeit at a much more serious level. Businesses getting revenues in cash are tempted more to try such games. But that is another story and possibly, another target segment.
An allied topic possibly at a different moral level is the salaries we pay to our drivers and domestic help. Even if some of their salaries are sometimes one day of our incomes, we love to “negotiate” hard with each one of them, failing to realize that this could be the easiest route of philanthropy – charity indeed begins from home.