The Thane ACB team was acting on a tip-off.
Mumbai: Acting on the tip-off by a complainant fed up of repeated demands for money, the Thane unit of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Wednesday laid a trap and arrested a ward officer and his driver while allegedly accepting a bribe to not act against the complainant’s illegal constructions in Uttan.
While the tainted officer has been identified as Swapnil Sawant, who was in charge of ward number one in MBMC, his driver, Raju Khedekar, was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 1 lakh on behalf of Sawant for sheltering an illegal chawl behind Stella Maris hospital in Uttan near Bhayandar. A team led by deputy SP Valmik Patil, under instruction of superintendent of police (ACB) Sangramsingh Nishandaar, laid a trap near the community hall in Bhayandar (west) at around 2.30 pm and nabbed the duo while accepting the second installment of Rs 1 lakh from the complainant. Sawant partially demolished the illegal chawl, and later demanded Rs 3 lakh from the complainant to not fully raze the structure.
The complainant, who had already coughed up Rs1 lakh as the first installment, was frustrated with the repeated demands following which, he approached ACB’s Thane unit. Interestingly, Sawant had been suspended on multiple occasions for his alleged complicity in sheltering illegal constructions in the Bhayandar-Uttan belt. Each time however, he has mysteriously managed to get reinstated to the same post.
Meanwhile, Sawant is not the only ward officer who has been arrested for graft. His counterparts including Chandrakant Borse, Jagdish Jagdale, Sanjay Donde and Sunil Yadav have also landed in the ACB net for similar reasons. A couple of them, too, have managed to bag the same post, a few months after arrest. SP Patil said that Sawant and Khedekar have been booked under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and placed under arrest.