Bribe to let off woman: Forest officer, agent held

A range forest officer and his agent were arrested by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday for allegedly accepting Rs 4 lakh bribe to let off a woman booked for alleged encroachment of forest land in Wanawadi.

The officer has been identified as Vishwas Bhimaji Bhadale (49) of Bibwewadi and agent as Vilas Babanrao Padwal. A complaint was lodged by Imran Lakhani, a resident of New Nana Peth. ACB officials said Imran's parents Taufiq and Tehmida had reportedly bought a land in Wanawadi in 2003 and later sold it to Bharat Narayan Bora in 2006.

On September 22, the forest department registered a complaint against Taufiq and Tehmida for alleged encroachment, forging documents and illegal sale. The ACB trap was laid after Bhadale demanded bribe to let off Tehmida.

Superintendent of police with the ACB, Sarang Awad, said, "On the day complaint was registered, Bhadale and his staff went to Taufiq's house and asked him to accompany them to forest department's Khadakmal office. They later arrested him."

Taufiq, however, was shifted to Sassoon Hospital after he complained of restlessness. He was again brought to Khadakmal police after he was discharged from the hospital. Bhadale told Imran that his mother will also have to be arrested.

"When the family requested not to arrest her, Bhadale demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh. Taufiq then called up Imran and asked him to come with the money. Imran, however, came only with Rs 1 lakh. Bhadale took the money and said he would still arrest Tehmida if remaining Rs 4 lakh were not given. This is when Imran lodged a complaint," added Awad.

ACB team laid a trap and arrested Padwal red-handed while accepting money on Bhadale's behalf in front of sports complex in Shikrawar Peth.

... contd.

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