Following the arrest of Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse’s personal aide for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 30 crore, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is now probing allegations that during a series of meetings in the Mantralaya and in the minister’s official bungalow, the complainant was told the bribe amount had purportedly been conveyed by one “saheb” and a man named “Unmesh”.
Khadse’s personal aide Gajanan Patil was arrested on Friday by the ACB after Mumbai-based social entrepreneur Ramesh Jadhav registered a complaint that the former had sought a bribe over a land allotment matter. On Saturday, Patil was remanded in police custody for two days.
The ACB’s FIR reveals that between September 14, 2015 and May 5, 2016, Jadhav met Patil seven times. ACB records show six of these meetings took place either in Khadse’s Mantralaya office or at the minister’s official residence, Ramtek, in Malabar Hill.
The FIR includes transcripts of recorded conversations between Jadhav and Patil. According to Jadhav’s statement, he first come in contact with Patil on September 14, 2015, during a visit to Khadse’s Officer-on-Special Duty Unmesh Mahajan in his office at the Mantralaya.
According to the FIR, Patil initially demanded Rs 1 crore and a flat for a favourable order regarding allotment of a 10.78-hectare plot in Kalyan’s Nilje village. Jadhav approached the ACB, whose sleuths recorded a conversation between Jadhav and Patil on September 22, 2015.
Patil reportedly then raised the bribe demanded to Rs 15 crore. According to the ACB, it ordered a further inquiry to probe whether others were involved. Further meetings were arranged on October 1, October 13, October 15 and November 6, 2015. The conversations at each meeting were recorded and transcripts show Patil repeating the bribe demand.
Khadse has said Patil was not employed in any official or personal capacity with his office. A statement by Khadse said Patil was only a worker from his Assembly constituency (Jalgaon’s Muktainagar). “If someone has been misusing my name and is found guilty, he must be severely punished,”