IT WAS over a game of carrom that the plan to take a bribe of Rs 4 lakh was allegedly chalked out by Gajanan Bhagat, Medical Superintendent of Parel-based MGM college, medical records librarian Kishore Wagh — the husband of NCP’s state women’s wing chief Chitra Wagh — and Sandesh Kamble, a state-level carrom player, according to officials of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
The three accused were introduced to each other through their passion for carrom. In fact, it was during one such game in Parel that Wagh and Bhagat allegedly sent Kamble to collect the bribe amount of Rs 4 lakh, when he was trapped by the ACB.
Bhagat, Wagh and Kamble have been arrested. They had allegedly demanded the bribe from the complainant to issue a compensation cheque from the hospital.
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The complainant had lost his brother in 1997 owing to alleged medical negligence by the MGM Hospital during a back surgery. He then approached the national consumer court in New Delhi, which ruled in his favour and awarded him compensation.
As per the court directive, the complainant met Bhagat, who is associated with the Employment State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), to decide on the compensation amount. He told Bhagat that he should be paid Rs 15 lakh, and his brother’s son should get a job. Bhagat, however, asked him to accept Rs 11 lakh.
“After the complainant agreed to accept Rs 11 lakh, Bhagat told him that he would issue a cheque of Rs 15 lakh and pocket the rest of the money,” a senior ACB official said.
“The complainant then approached us,” the official added.
Based on the ACB’s instructions, the complainant agreed to pay the bribe, and asked the accused to meet him at Byculla. “Bhagat and Wagh, who were playing carrom, did not want to be caught taking bribe. Hence, they asked Kamble, who was playing with them, to go and collect the money,” an officer said.
When Kamble was accepting the amount, the ACB caught him red-handed, officers said.
He then led the police to the other accused.
While there were allegations that Wagh’s wife Chitra tried resisting his arrest, senior ACB officers said the report prepared by the raiding team does not mention such an allegation.
The arrested accused were presented before a special ACB court that remanded them in police custody for eight days. During searches, the police found Rs 5.82 lakh at Bhagat’s residence along with some property papers and Rs 90,000 from Kamble’s residence.
The ACB will now verify if this matches the known sources of their income.
Officers said they are also checking if the accused have made similar bribe demands in the past.