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Mumbai: Rs 4-lakh bribe deal struck across a carrom board

ACB arrests superintendent and medical record librarian of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial hospital and a state-level carrom player; the bribe was demanded to release a compensation of Rs 15 lakh

Officers from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested superintendent and medical record librarian of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) hospital and a state-level carrom player for demanding and accepting Rs 4 lakh from a Byculla resident.

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Gajanan Tulshiram Bhagat, superintendent, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital (left) and Sandesh Kamble, state-level carrom player

The accused were identified as MGM superintendent Gajanan Tulshiram Bhagat (48), medical record librarian Kishor Wagh (50) and their accomplice Sandesh Kamble (45). All three were produced in the court yesterday, which remanded them in police custody till July 12. The trio was arrested on Monday.

Speaking to mid-day, an ACB officer said a complaint was initially lodged against Bhagat and Wagh on Sunday by a man whose brother had died following an incorrect spinal chord surgery performed under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme at the hospital in 1997. In his complaint, the man accused the duo of demanding R4 lakh against the assurance of compensation of Rs 15 lakh from the hospital.

“Bhagat told the complainant that he would get him a compensation of R15lakh, for which he would charge R4 lakh. While Bhagat made the demand, Wagh handled the nitty-gritty of the deal. Though the complainant pretended to go ahead with the deal, he simultaneously lodged a complaint with the ACB,” said the officer.

Game and money
Sources revealed that the entire plot of how to demand and collect money was hatched over a game of carrom. “Investigation revealed that Bhagat had asked his friend Kamble to collect the money from the complainant at Samarth Hotel near Hindmata on Monday. He was arrested red-handed, followed by apprehensions of Bhagat and Wagh,” said a senior officer said.

Read Story: Constable held for accepting bribe in Maharashtra

Following Monday’s arrests, ACB officers raided the residences of Bhagat and Wagh yesterday and recovered cash and property-related documents. “Rs 5 lakh and documents related to a property in Worli were recovered from Bhagat’s residence, which are being verified. Besides, R90,000 were seized from Kamble’s house. Investigators have also learnt that he owns a few properties in Mumbai,” said another ACB officer.

The case
Following the botched up medical procedure in 1997, which claimed his brother’s life, the complainant approached the state consumer redressal commission against the hospital and accused the management of medical negligence. Six years later, the commission ruled in his favour and ordered the hospital to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

Refusing to pay the penalty, the hospital moved the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, New Delhi. Here too the higher court ruled in the complainant’s favour and ordered the hospital to pay compensation amount after a mutual agreement. Following negations, the amount was settled at Rs 11 lakh.

It was here that Bhagat approached the complainant and told him that he would help him secure a higher amount provided he was paid a certain percentage of the compensation.

Wife tries to throw her weight around?
Reports claimed that Wagh’s wife Chitra, who is also the president of the NCP’s women’s wing, created a ruckus and mentioned her political affiliations to deter the ACB officers from arresting her husband. However, senior officials claimed they were not informed about any such resistance amounting to an offence by her at the time of Wagh’s arrest.

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