The Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday trapped and arrested a sub-engineer with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs five lakh from a Mumbai-based builder in exchange for issuing a no objection certificate (NOC). The arrested accused had allegedly claimed that he would have to give a share of the money to two of his superiors, including an Assistant Municipal Commissioner, whose involvement is now being probed by the ACB.
According to ACB officers, the complainant had received a contract to redevelop a recently demolished building in Dadar, and needed an NOC to start work on the project from the Estate Department of the BMC. Sub-Engineer Pravin Salgaonkar with the Estate Department was allegedly delaying issuing the NOC to the complainant for several months.
The complainant ultimately approached the Bombay High Court in the matter, and the HC, in February this year, issued a ruling instructing Salgaonkar to issue the NOC within 21 days. However, Salgaonkar was allegedly still delaying the process and ultimately demanded Rs 17 lakh from the complainant, saying that he wanted the first installment of Rs five lakh immediately. The complainant then approached the ACB.
“As part of the verification of the complainant’s allegations, we instructed the complainant to contact Salgaonkar and discuss the bribe demand with him, while we recorded the conversation. During this conversation, Salgaonkar said that he had demanded Rs 17 lakh as he would also have to give a share to the assistant engineer and the assistant commissioner of the department,” said an ACB officer.
On Wednesday afternoon, in a trap laid by the ACB, Salgaonkar was arrested after he accepted Rs five lakh from the complainant and was charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“We are conducting inquiries to find out if the assistant engineer and assistant commissioner were indeed involved in any way,” said Additional Commissioner of Police Kishore Jadhav, ACB, Mumbai. ACB officials are currently conducting searches at Salgaonkar’s office and residence.