Corporator, ward officer arrested in graft case, scribe booked

THE Anti-Corruption Bureau on Tuesday arrested a corporator and a ward officer with the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) for allegedly accepting a bribe from a local builder to prevent demolition of a building under construction. A reporter with a local publication has also been booked in the case.

ACB officials said the complainant began a construction project in Bhayander (west) in April, and in September, Ward Officer Suni Yadav allegedly stopped the construction and asked the complainant to meet him at his office. "The complainant complied and Yadav told him that he would either have to seek some permission from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) or would have to pay money to him, failing which the structure would be demolished. Yadav also told the complainant that a local reporter, Shashikumar Sharma, had filed a complaint, claiming that the structure was in violation of several laws and hence the complainant would also have to pay money to local corporator Ashok Tiwari," officials said.

"On November 15, Yadav issued a notice to the complainant, and when the complainant met him again, Yadav claimed that Sharma had published several articles in his publication, highlighting the issue. Yadav then demanded a bribe of Rs 4.8 lakh for himself, Tiwari and Sharma. On December 4, the complainant was also arrested under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act. Later, he was granted bail," said an ACB officer.

On December 10, Yadav allegedly called the complainant and told him that had he paid the bribe , he would not have been arrested. Yadav then reportedly demanded Rs 3.2 lakh, which was brought down to Rs 1.5 lakh. The complainant finally approached the ACB, and a complaint was registered against Yadav, Sharma and Tiwari under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the official added.

Acting on the ACB's instructions, the complainant reportedly contacted Yadav and fixed a meeting where he would supposedly pay the bribe. "We laid a trap and arrested Tiwari and Yadav while they were accepting Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000, respectively, at the MBMC's ward number 1 office. Sharma has also been named in the case," said Rajeshkumar Mor, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACB).

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