RFO, relative arrested for taking Rs 5 L
Officials of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Range Forest Officer (RFO) Vishwas Bhadale for accepting Rs 4 lakh from a builder's kin to avoid arrest for alleged involvement in a forestland grab case in Wanoworie.
Officials also arrested Bhadale’s relative Vilas Babanrao Padwal (40) for accepting bribe on his behalf. A week ago, a team lead Bhadale arrested builders Bharat Vora and Taufik Lakhani. The duo was accused of grabbing forestland in Wanoworie and constructing a building on the plot.
Bhadale had allegedly demanded Rs 5 lakh from Lakhani’s son Imran to help his mother Tehmida evade arrest, as she was a co-accused in the case.
According to the officials, Lakhani and Tehmida had jointly purchased the land in Wanoworie and sold it to Vora in 2006. Vora later constructed a multi-storeyed building on the plot.
“Recently, the forest department discovered about this encroachment of forestland and registered a complaint against Vora and arrested him a week ago. During interrogation, Vora revealed that he had purchased the plot from Lakhani,” Superintendent of Police Sarang Awad said.
Awad said Bhadale arrested Lakhani from his residence on September 22. Later, a complaint was registered at the Samarth police station against Lakhani and his accomplices after they allegedly manhandled and prevented the forest department officials from arresting Lakhani.
Soon after his arrest, Lakhani fell ill and was admitted to the hospital. After his discharge on September 25, Lakhani was re-arrested and remanded in police custody for further investigation,” Awad said.
In the meantime, Bhadale told Imran that his mother Tehmida would also be arrested, as her name was there in the documents.
“Bhadale asked me to pay Rs 5 lakh bribe to prevent my mother’s arrest. I paid a lakh in his office at Khadakmal Ali on Wednesday. He said he wouldn’t be able to help me unless I pay him the remaining amount,” Imran said.
ACB officials said they laid a trap near Padwal’s office and caught him red-handed. During interrogation, Padwal told the officials that it was Bhadale who had asked him to collect money from Imran.
“Later, our team reached the Shivajinagar court, where he had brought Lakhani and Vora to produce them in the court, and arrested him,” Awad said.