Even after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials laid a trap and arrested marriage officer Ramchandra Parekar red-handed for taking a bribe of Rs 300 from a would-be couple to issue a marriage notice on Monday, it seems that agents on the premises of marriage registration office at Collector office remain unaffected.
Upon being approached in guise of a groom desirous of obtaining a marriage certificate, an agent standing outside the office agreed to do the needful. The agent, who introduced himself as Vishal and the owner of Loveguru marriage bureau, assured that he would help obtain a marriage certificate in a day or two, but would charge Rs 7,000 for the job.
He also assured that the bride and the groom need not do anything other than give him their documents and the rest would be taken care off by him as he had links with the officers. “There are more than 10 agents who are working here on the premises and if you go to them, they might charge anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000. But since you have come to me first, I will charge only Rs 7,000,” the agent said.
Upon contacting police inspector B R Bhosale of Anti-Corruption Bureau, who had arrested Parekar on Monday, he said, “It is a known fact that these agents are present in big numbers outside marriage registration office. However, we can’t take action against them, as they are not government employees.”
He said that the bureau had already spoken with the concerned authorities, asking them to initiate stringent action against these agents. “There seems to be a nexus between the officials from the marriage registration office and the agents,” Bhosale said.
Collector of Stamps and Joint Director of Registration Kalyan Pandhare assured that they would be soon conducting surprise checks on the premises of the marriage registration office and if any of the agents was found having links with any of the officials then police action would be taken against them.
“Apart from this, we have decided to sensitise people, who come for marriage registration, not to approach these agents and directly meet the marriage officer,” Pandhare said. He said his office has already warned staff at the marriage registration office of stringent action if found guilty of involvement in such activities.
The legal way: Fees for a marriage cert
>> Rs 50: If bride and groom both are from city
>> Rs 100: If one of them is from another city
>> Rs 150: If both bride and groom are not from city
>> Rs 1,000: If bride and groom want marriage officer to visit marriage hall, recognise their marriage and issue them the certificate