The Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has arrested a talathi from Akola who, over nearly four years was allegedly exploiting farmers in his jurisdiction by taking bribes from them for each official document he issued, and even had a “rate card” for bribes to be paid.
ACB officers said that the accused, a 28-year-old man, deliberately took small amounts — less than Rs 100 — for each certificate, telling the farmers that they were nominal charges levied by the government, and ended up making thousands of rupees every day.
According to ACB officers, the lid was blown off the alleged racket when a farmer from Akola approached the ACB to complain against Sanjay Tayde, the talathi of Pathardi in Akola. The farmer told the ACB that Tayde was demanding Rs 510 from him in exchange for issuing a set of certificates that he needed. Even ACB officers found the unusual bribe amount interesting, and initiated inquiries into the matter.
“Our inquiries revealed that the farmer needed three crop sowing certificates to submit to a bank to claim the insurance under the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme, and two income certificates for personal use. Tayde was demanding Rs 60 for each crop sowing certificate and Rs 75 for each income certificate. He had deliberately demanded small amounts for each document so that he could pass off the bribes as genuine government charges,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police U K Jadhav, ACB, Akola.
The police said that Tayde’s idea had been working very well for him. He had, however, exploited the complainant farmer one time too many. On July 22, in a trap laid by ACB, Tayde was arrested after he allegedly accepted the bribe amount of Rs 510 from the farmer in his office at the Pathardi gram panchayat building.
In a search conducted of Tayde’s office after the trap was executed, ACB officials found close to Rs 7000 in cash that Tayde had collected from various farmers in exchange for various documents. But as ACB had received one official complaint, the bribe amount of Rs 510 was made part of the record.
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