The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau has sent a proposal to the state government seeking permission to initiate a disproportionate assets investigation against former Mumbai Sales Tax Joint commissioner Ramdas Shinde, who was trapped and arrested while accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh in May this year along with his ‘agent’.
Shinde was arrested by the ACB’s Raigad unit on May 10 this year for allegedly demanding Rs 60 lakh from a Navi Mumbai based builder and accepting Rs 20 lakh from him.
Irfan Bhopali, an employee with a chartered accountant’s firm, was also arrested for allegedly accepting the money on Shinde’s behalf. The ACB then conducted raids at Shinde’s properties and found assets worth more than Rs 1 crore in his and his family’s name.
“We have conducted a final assessment of Shinde’s assets, and it has been found to be worth Rs 1.84 crore. This includes two houses, two commercial spaces, a row house and eight plots of land in various parts of the state, and over Rs 20 lakh in various bank accounts. Based on the evaluation of his assets, we have sent a letter to the state government, seeking permission to initiate a disproportionate assets probe against Shinde,” said an ACB official.
The official added that if the sanction is obtained, the ACB will calculate his total earnings from the date of his joining government service to the date of his arrest, deduct one third of the amount based on the assumption that it is the minimum that a person can spend for day to day expenses, and compare the final amount against the value of his assets. “Once we have a difference between his income and his assets, we will question him. During the questioning, we will give him a chance to explain how he possesses assets beyond his income, and in case he failed to provide a satisfactory explanation, will register a case of possessing disproportionate assets against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the officer added.
The ACB has also found Shinde and Bhopali are 20 per cent partners in a real estate firm, which recently bought a plot of land in Navi Mumbai worth Rs 6.46 crore, and this aspect is being probed separately, said officials.