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Kutch: Hours after attending PM event, national award-winning sarpanch held for taking Rs five lakh bribe

Her arrest comes just two weeks after the ruling BJP appointed her as secretary of the party’s Mahila Morcha (women’s wing) unit for Kutch district on July 27.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: August 13, 2021 8:35:04 pm
Narendra modi, PM Modi, Rajkot, Anti Corruption Bureau, acb, Mahila sarpanch, Covid-19, Gujarat BJP, BJP Mahila Morcha, Indian express, indian express newsACB officers said that an executive of a mines and minerals company had filed a complaint against Kankuben, claiming the sarpanch was demanding Rs 5 lakh bribe for assessing development charge and granting permission to the company for constructing some structures. (Representational)

Barely six hours after she shared the stage with top government officers at an event addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for self-help group (SHGs) of women, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials detained Kukma village sarpanch and national award-winning handloom artisan Kankuben Marvada alias Kanakuben Vankar near Bhuj town in Kutch on Thursday evening for allegedly taking Rs 5 lakh bribe from a company. Her husband and two relatives were also detained and the ACB arrested the four accused on Friday after they tested negative for Covid-19.

Her arrest comes just two weeks after the ruling BJP appointed her as secretary of the party’s Mahila Morcha (women’s wing) unit for Kutch district on July 27.

ACB officers said that an executive of a mines and minerals company had filed a complaint against Kankuben, claiming the sarpanch was demanding Rs 5 lakh bribe for assessing development charge and granting permission to the company for constructing some structures. ACB said that Kankuben had already accepted Rs 1 lakh cash as part of the bribery payment and had asked the complainant to hand the balance Rs 4 lakh to her husband Amrut Marvada and her relatives when they demand the same. However, instead of paying the bribe, the executive of the private firm filed a complaint with the Border Unit of the ACB having its office in Bhuj.

Acting on the complaint, an ACB team led by police inspector M J Chaudhary laid a trap near Mahadev Gate on the bank of Hamirsar Lake in Bhuj town. As soon as Amrut, Ravji Bochiya and Ritesh Bochiya—both relatives of the sarpanch—accepted Rs 4 lakh cash bribe money from the executive of the company, they were detained by ACB sleuths from the spot at 6:30 pm on Thursday. “Soon after the trapping the trio in Bhuj, our team went to the residence of the sarpanch in Kukma village and detained Kankuben. While she was under detention, we searched her residence but nothing incriminating was found. We got Covid-19 tests of the all four accused done as the test results returned negative, the four were formally arrested on Friday,” KH Gohil, assistant director of Border Unit of ACB told The Indian Express on Friday.

Kankuben’s detention came barely six hours after she shared the stage with Kutch district collector Praveena D K, Kutch District Development officer Bhavya Verma and others at Atmanirbhar Narishaktise Samvad, an event organised by District Development Agency of Kutch and Momay Sakhi Mandal, an SHG at Kukma village. Among other places elsewhere, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addressed the event organised in Bhuj as well as in Surendrangar and Junagadh talukas of Gujarat after releasing Rs1,625 crore as capitalisation support to 4.07 lakh SHGs across the country.

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