Mumbai News

BMC ‘strikes back’ at veggie vendor with demolition drive – Times of India

MUMBAI: A day after the anticorruption bureau caught three BMC employees accepting a bribe of Rs 250 from a vegetable vendor, the civic body on Tuesday demolished five illegal stalls of vegetable vendors, including the complainant’s, at Vartak Nagar in Vile Parle east.
Ramesh Gupta, who had filed a complaint with the ACB, alleges not only did the BMC take retaliatory action after he got the officials trapped, but the accused were not arrested either. ACB investigating officer Praveen Balgosavi said no arrests were made since the amount involved was meagre. However, he said the accused –Vishwas Nadar, Ramakant Sonkamble (a clerk with the encroachment department) and Harshad Worlikar, a security guard– have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to the FIR, the encroachment department of KEast ward demolished Gupta’s illegal stall on October 29 and took the goods to its godown at MIDC central hall in Andheri. Gupta has alleged when he went to pay the fine and retrieve the goods, a woman officer asked him to pay Rs2,000. “When the officer refused to issue a receipt, I realised she was asking for a bribe. Hence, I decided to approach the ACB,” Gupta told TOI.
On Monday, ACB officials fitted a secret recorder on Gupta, who then went to get his goods released. Nadar demanded Rs 250, while Sonkamble accepted the bribe amount. Gupta immediately signalled the ACB team which caught the three. A senior ACB official said the trio will be arrested soon. K-East ward officer Prashant Sapkal denied Tuesday’s action against the vegetable stalls was a tit for tat. “The godown where the ACB trap took place does not fall under our ward, but under the encroachment department. Secondly, it was routine action and has nothing to do with the trap,” he said.