Mumbai: Minister disowns bribe-seeker who worked in his office

Dr Ranjit Patil, minister of state for home (urban), said the arrested man did not work for him full-time, but was assigned to brief him on matters related to the law and judiciary department

A day after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested a Mantralaya staffer, Milind Kadam, for seeking a bribe from a lawyer on Wednesday, the minister of state for home (urban), law and judiciary and general administration, Dr Ranjit Patil swung into action to prove that the accused did not work full-time for him, though the people in Mantralaya continued to counter his claims.

Kadam’s arrest has landed Patil in further trouble because the ACB is also verifying a complaint against the minister
Kadam’s arrest has landed Patil in further trouble because the ACB is also verifying a complaint against the minister

Kadam’s arrest has landed Patil in further trouble because the ACB is also verifying a complaint against the minister. After questions were raised about Kadam’s appointment in Patil’s office, the minister clarified that Kadam did work for him, but not in the capacity of a personal assistant, officer on special duty, or personal secretary.

He said the staffer was assigned to brief him on the matters related to law and judiciary department where he worked as a legal assistant. The legal assistant was arrested on Wednesday following instructions from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was called by the complainant, a lawyer.

Kadam was caught red-handed accepting the first installment of the Rs 5 lakh bribe that he had demanded for getting the lawyer in Arvi in Wardha district appointed as a notary. Patil had claimed on Wednesday that the CM had kept him in the loop before issuing directions to the ACB to trap Kadam.

However, people in the know of the matter, countered Patil’s clarification. They said that Kadam was on deputation from the law and judiciary department. This means Kadam worked in the minister’s office but drew his salary from his parent department. A senior bureaucrat told

mid-day that he had been working very closely with senior officials in Patil’s office, and was officially asked to coordinate with three departments law and judiciary, parliamentary affairs and general administration department. This job needed him to know things from the three departments and pass the information on to Patil.

Staffers in Patil’s office corroborated the bureaucrat’s information, but they did not wish to be named. Patil said in a statement that Kadam was assigned to him for helping him in technical matters. “Secretary (law and judiciary) (M.A) Sayeed had recommended Kadam to me for the job after I took over as the minister. Kadam’s arrest shows that the government hasn’t protected a corrupt employee,” he said.

Complaint against Patil
Last week, Patil faced huge embarrassment when the ACB had forwarded a complaint against him to the Amravati-Akola unit for verification. The complaint accuses Patil of amassing disproportionate assets. Patil blamed his political rivals, who he said were out to defame him. The minister is an orthopaedic surgeon in Akola in western Maharashtra and represents the graduates constituency in the Legislative Council.

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