Gujarat Housing Board officer, husband caught taking Rs 20L bribe

Ahmedabad: A senior Gujarat Housing Board officer and her husband were today caught red-handed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh.

Nidhi Morabia, a Class 1 officer posted at Rajkot, had allegedly demanded Rs 85 lakh from a person to issue him a 'no objection certificate' (NOC) for starting construction on his plot, ACB officials said.

"Morabia, an Assistant Estate Officer in Gujarat Housing Board, sent her husband Hitesh to receive Rs 20 lakh as the first instalment of the total bribe amount of Rs 85 lakh," Inspector H P Doshi (ACB-Rajkot Division) said.

ACB sleuths laid a trap and caught Morabia's husband when he was accepting the bribe amount from the complainant at Limda Chowk in Rajkot city. The anti-graft agency later arrested the lady officer from her office, Doshi said.

The agency acted on the basis of a complaint filed by Pratap Ghodesara, a resident of Rajkot city, yesterday. Morabia had told Ghodesara that the plot belonged to the Housing Board and if he wanted to undertake construction, he would have to give a hefty bribe, Doshi said.

The Estate Officer first demanded Rs 1.50 crore and after negotiation, reduced it to Rs 1 crore. However, when Ghodesara did not show willingness to give that much money, she convinced him to shell out Rs 85 lakh in 3-4 instalments, the ACB Inspector said.

Ghodesara agreed and the same time lodged a complaint with the ACB. Further legal proceeding has been initiated against the husband-wife duo, Doshi added.

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