Slapgate effect: Five staffers removed from minister' s office
The staffers who include two PAs, were sent back to their original departments after the alleged bribery case
In the aftermath of 'slapgate' — the alleged bribery case in the social justice minister's office, which rocked political circles recently — there has been some action from senior BJP leader Rajkumar Badole, who heads a cash-rich Mantralaya department.
On Monday, five staffers working in the department were sent back to their respective parent departments. Two of Badole's personal assistants, (PAs) Mane and Shetye, along with a clerk, Gabhane, and two telephone operators were removed from the office. Mane and Shetye were asked to leave on Thursday while the other three were sent back on Monday.
Two weeks ago, an ashram shala (residential school for SCs) director, Arun Niture, had slapped a clerk in Badole's office for allegedly accepting a hefty bribe, and still not giving him approval for a new school.
Niture had told the media last week that he had given Badole's personal assistant (called Mane) R 10 lakh as a bribe, and also R 1.60 lakh to an officer in the minister's office. "Despite the payments, they did not approve a grant for my school. When I inquired, there was no response, so then I slapped Gabhane twice [in front of other staff]," he had said.
Niture has been visiting Mantralaya to get a government grant for his residential school in Osmanabad district, and also trying to get an approval for a new school for three years. He had claimed 322 schools were asked to pay R 10 lakh each for various approvals. Following the incident, the minister had promised an inquiry and action, which his office said, has begun with the transfers of the three people who have defamed his office. The minister had also demanded action against Niture, saying he was a habitual offender who created a scene at his office every now and then.
Another senior staffer - an officer on special duty (OSD) - who too, was named by the school director, avoided disciplinary action. The OSD to the minister, has allegedly been working in violation of a rule that officers who had worked in previous ministerial establishments should not be hired in current minister's offices. But he still remains in
Rs 10 lakh
Amount allegedly given by the school director as a bribe
Rs 1.6 lakh
Amount the school director allegedly gave again
Water activist Amla Ruia speaks to mid-day