Cops probe assets of tribal officials in bribery case
The police have begun a disproportionate assets investigation against two senior officials of the tribal department who were caught accepting a bribe on April 15.
The Palghar unit of the anticorruption bureau (ACB) arrested Milind Bhagwan Gawade, 54, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who was deployed as additional commissioner, tribal, and Kiran Sukhalal Mali, 39, deputy commissioner, tribal.
The state government suspended them after they had been in police custody for more than 48 hours.
Officials found Rs11.50 lakh after searching Mali’s office on April 15. “According to the rules, the accused was given a chance to explain where he got the money from. Mali has not given us a satisfactory explanation for why there was such a large sum of money in his office and what the source of the cash was,” said a senior police officer privy to the investigation.
The ACB is also looking into properties owned by the two men.
The agency has searched Gawade's Versova home and Mali's Shahpur residence. “We are also looking at their documents,” said the officer.
Mali and Gawade were caught after the rector of a tribal hostel in Palghar approached the agency saying Gawade had asked him and 11 of his colleagues for a bribe.
The rector and his colleagues work at the tribal hostel and were promoted four years ago.
Gawli, however, claimed that their qualifications were insufficient and threatened to demote them.
He allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs1 lakh from each of the caretakers.
The ACB caught Mali red handed while he was accepting the bribes.
The ACB registered only one case of disproportionate assets across the state so far this year
There were 35 such cases reg istered in 2016 and 17 cases in 2016.
This year, the ACB has regis tered 245 so-called ‘trap cases across the state, in which gov ernment officers or their accom plices were caught red-handed while accepting bribes.