Nagpur: The State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), on Tuesday, arrested a technician cum Officer posted in Mantralaya in Mumbai while accepting a bribe of Rs 25 lakh from officiating Nagpur City RTO Ravindra Bhuyar to stop ongoing inquiry against him. The accused officer is reportedly a close aide of a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from Pusad, Yavatmal.
The ACB arrested Dilip Wamanrao Khode (50), a MIDC technician (Class-III) and currently posted in Mantralaya, Mumbai. Co-accused Shekhar Bhoyar, a resident of Amravati, is absconding.
According to ACB, Khode worked as Officer on Special Duty (OSDs) in various Ministries in the past. As a result, he was having good contacts in the political circles. Bhoyar, a friend of Khode, had contested the Graduate constituency election from Amravati a few years back. The RTO Bhuyar is facing inquiry after two women lodged a complaint of harassment against him. One of the women lodged a complaint with Congress MLC Wajahat Mirza too, ACB said.
Khode approached RTO Bhuyar and threatened him with expediting action against him on the basis of the complaints. He also warned that MLC Mirza would raise the issue of women’s complaints in the Legislative Council during ‘Question Hour’. Khode used to give reference to his contacts in the political circle to save him from the action. The accused persons demanded a bribe of Rs 1 crore (Rs 50 lakh for each complaint) to Bhuyar. The deal was fixed at Rs 25 lakh.
Meanwhile, RTO Bhuyar approached ACB Nagpur and lodged a complaint. The ACB officials verified the demand and laid the trap. As Khode was aware of the functioning of ACB, he changed the meeting spot three times in the Civil Lines area. Finally, he accepted the bribe near Ravi Bhavan and was arrested by ACB red-handed in the evening.
A case under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the accused persons. Under the guidance of SP (ACB) Rahul Maknikar, DySP Madhukar Gite, the arrest was made by Police Inspector Sachin Matte and staff.
According to another media report, the MLC had allegedly demanded Rs1 crore cash from Bhuyar, who is Nagpur City RTO, to ensure he would not raise two complaints lodged against the latter by a female colleague of his department on the floor of the House during the coming session. The demand was allegedly for Rs50 lakh to settle each issue. The amount was negotiated down to Rs25 lakh in the first instalment.
The arrested person, Dilip Khode, claimed to be working as ‘officer-on-special’ duty for the MLC, and is engaged in various liasoning activities at Mantralaya. It is reported that he accepted the amount as the first instalment on behalf of the MLC, who too was said to be present in the city.
ACB sleuths led by inspector Sachin Matte had swooped down on the accused under supervision of SP Rahul Maknikar. While Khode was nabbed, his accomplice Bhoyar managed to flee.
The ACB action has brought to fore that a second woman colleague of Bhuyar has lodged a complaint against him, which the MLC was allegedly threatening to raise on the floor of the assembly. Before this, only one complaint by a woman in the RTO office was known.
Reports said the woman in the second complaint was subsequently booked in a case of criminal breach of trust by Sitabuldi police, as she did not deposit a fine amount collected by her.
Nagpur police chief Amitesh Kimar too had formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe an audio leak episode in which an alleged transfer racket had come to fore. The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) was assigned the probe but nothing concrete has surfaced till now. It’s learnt that a former RTO official had checked into a Nagpur city hotel to strike deals with personnel who wanted choice postings against cash payments.