Apparently, the anti-graft protest has failed to instill any modicum of probity in our babus. Yesterday, three Mantralaya officials were caught accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 at the Mantralaya.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has arrested Pravin Kacheshwar Bodke, assistant clerk with the education department, Prashant Dadasaheb Andhare, another clerk, and Deepak Ramchandra Karande, personal assistant to State Education Minister Rajendra Darda.
According to ACB officials, the complainant (name withheld by officials), who runs a school in Nashik, approached the department for permission to conduct English coaching classes for his students. Last week, the complainant met Andhare, who demanded Rs 50,000 to forward the request to his superior. Adhare assured him that he would not have to pay any additional amount as the sanctions were under his jurisdiction. The helpless complainant negotiated, and the bribe was fixed at Rs 30,000.
Andhare asked the complainant to pay him Rs 15,000 and meet Karande with the remaining amount, to which the latter agreed. But he headed straight to the ACB office to register a case against him.
In order to catch the culprits red-handed, the Bureau asked the complainant to meet Karande with Rs 15,000. When the meeting took place, Karande upped the demand to Rs 90,000, to be paid it in two installments. Acting on the ACB's orders, the complainant met Karande with Rs 50,000, but the latter directed him to give the amount to Bodke.
Finally, as the complainant exchanged the amount with Bodke, the ACB made its strike, and arrested the three accused officials. They will be produced in court today.
Said Education Minister Darda, "I was aware of some illegal activities taking place in the department, and we were investigating from our side. This is an unfortunate incident and the guilty will surely be penalised."