The BJP-led government in the state was in for some embarrassment after news broke that Maharashtra’s Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole’s staff was beaten up inside Badole’s office in Mantralaya.
It turns out that Anil Niture, a trustee of a residential boarding school for students belonging to Scheduled Caste in Osmanabad, had slapped Badole’s clerk, Bhoru Gabale, during office hours in Mantralaya on September 7.
What caused more embarrassment for the Fadnavis government is Niture’s allegation that he had paid a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to Gabale for a proposal to sanction grants to the residential school and approving another proposal for setting up one more residential school. The matter came to light on Wednesday after Niture made his allegations public.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil did not miss the opportunity to attack Badole and the government over the allegations, demanding an independent inquiry over the allegations. Badole was later forced to issue a statement over the entire episode.
He denied the allegations that his staff had sought bribe, while claiming that Niture had lost his “mental balance”. He further announced that “an inquiry will be conducted into the manhandling incident”. Incidentally no police complaint has so far been filed in the matter.
Niture claimed that his proposal has been stuck in red tape in Mantralaya for three years. “Even after taking money for the work, the proposals are not being cleared. I beat him (Gabale) up since he was not giving a satisfactory reply,” he said.
Other staff present in Badole’s office at the time of the incident said that Nitore had abused Gabale before slapping him. A heated argument between the two had preceded the violence, they claimed.
Meanwhile, Badole claimed that Niture’s existing school was being run illegally. “It does not have the required government permission, but has been functioning since 2009. There are 322 such illegally running residential schools. On huminatarian grounds, a proposal for the regularisation of these schools is under consideration,” he added. Badole pointed out that the same person had earlier threatened to commit suicide outside the Chief Minister’s office during the monsoon session of the assembly as a pressure tactic for clearance to his proposal.