The Anti-Corruption Bureau Friday arrested a forest guard for allegedly taking bribe of Rs 10 lakh from a person who had applied for permission to lay optical fibre cable network line in the forest area in Valsad district.
The accused forest guard has been identified as Jigar Rajput. Dharmendrasinh Chawda, forest officer of Killa Pardi, who is also allegedly involved in the crime, is absconding, police said.
Rajput was produced before the Valsad court Friday which sent him to police remand till Saturday afternoon.
A private agency got the contract of laying underground optical fibre line network in the protected and non-protected forest area in Valsad. The Deputy Conservator of Forest in Valsad gave the necessary approval for the non-protected zone. However, when the agency applied for permission to work in the protected zone, Chawda and Rajput allegedly demanded Rs 10 lakh from him, police said.
The complainant then approached the Vadodara ACB on Thursday.
Acting on the complaint, the ACB officials laid a trap and waited outside the forest office while the agency official went ahead to hand over the bribe money to Chawla and Rajput, as decided earlier, police said. The complainant claimed that when he called up Chawda, he told him to hand over the money to Rajput as “he was out for some work”, police said.
As soon as the complainant came out of the office, the ACB officials immediately caught Rajput and seized the bribe money.
Police inspector of Valsad ACB, P D Barot said, “ We have enough evidence against Chawla. He will be arrested soon. We have got one-day police remand for Rajput. We will try and dig out more information from him.”