A municipal officer looking to make a quick buck to pay for a lavish New Year's Eve party is now behind bars instead, after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Navi Mumbai caught him accepting a bribe.
The accused, who is the assistant commissioner of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, had not only accepted Rs 7,000 from the complainant, but had also demanded liquor and dry fruits from him.
UMC assistant commissioner, Ratan Kedar, and his accomplice, Raju Chaugani demanded that the complainant pay them Rs 7,000 and also give them alcohol and dry fruits for the New Year's party they were planning. Pic/Navneet Barhate
Ratan Kedar (56), assistant commissioner of UMC, in charge of the demolition department, was arrested by the ACB along with a middleman, Raju Chaugani (53), from his office at VTC Maidan, Ulhasnagar, Camp III.
The cops said they had received a complaint from Ulhasnagar resident, Naresh Bajaj, a local builder. Bajaj, who filed the complaint, said he had received a notice from Kedar's office informing that the UMC would demolish his illegal construction on December 31.
"After they sent the notice to me, I went to their office to tell them they would not be able to do it on December 31 as they would not get police bandobast for the demolition when all the cops will be busy in New Year's bandobast.
But Kedar said he would demolish it without police bandobast, and if I wanted to save my building, I would have to pay him," said Bajaj. When Bajaj met Chaugani at a restaurant to negotiate with him, he was told they needed the money to host a party on New Year's Eve.
Chaugani had not only enjoyed drinks at the bar, but had also got food packed for his family, all at Bajaj's expense. Bajaj gave them a liquor bottle, as well as 1-kg packs of cashew nuts and pistachios as snacks for his party.
They demanded that Bajaj pay them Rs 12,000, out which Rs 10,000 would go to Kedar, and Rs 2,000 to Chaugani. "They told me they needed it for the party. I negotiated the amount to Rs 7,000, of which Rs 5,000 was for Kedar," said Bajaj.
However, by this point, Bajaj wasn't willing to pay any more, as he had already paid another officer earlier on, while his building was being constructed. "After Bajaj filed a complaint, we laid a trap and arrested Chaugani and Kedar, who accepted the bribe from the complainant," said Pravin Dixit, DGP, Maharashtra ACB.
According to the police, such incidents are not uncommon. "Corrupt officials just need a reason to take bribes, and New Year's parties are one of the reasons," said Inspector Vishal Jadhav, from ACB Navi Mumbai.