Gujarat: BJP MP Ram Mokariya Admits Paying Bribe To Rajkot Civic Body For Fire NOC, Sparks Controversy

Gujarat: BJP MP Ram Mokariya Admits Paying Bribe To Rajkot Civic Body For Fire NOC, Sparks Controversy

Ram Mokariya, a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajkot and the owner of the well-known Maruti Courier firm, has become entangled in a controversy after confessing in a local Gujarat newspaper interview that he paid a bribe to acquire a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC).

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2024, 07:17 PM IST
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Ram Mokariya, a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajkot |

Ram Mokariya, a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajkot and the owner of the well-known Maruti Courier firm, has become entangled in a controversy after confessing in a local Gujarat newspaper interview that he paid a bribe to acquire a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC).

The statement, made when he was not a Rajya Sabha MP, has sparked widespread media attention and public scrutiny, raising concerns about corruption in local government offices. Mokariya said that he had to bribe Fire Officer Theba Rs. 70,000 to get the NOC granted for a building proposal on a 27,000 square yard plot in survey number 105, near the BJP office in Rajkot.

This property was converted from non-agricultural to residential or commercial use. He didn't have a NOC from the airport at first, but he eventually got one. In his interview, Mokariya voiced dissatisfaction with the RMC and the district collector's office's widespread corruption. "No one in the RMC or the district collector's office is immune to corruption. "All of the officers are known for excessive harassment," he alleged.

He described how bureaucrats tried to stymie the progress of his Rs. 200 crore land development project. Despite the bribe, Mokariya's scheme was not approved. Only after becoming a Rajya Sabha member did he contact Theba, who later repaid the Rs. 70,000 in a cover via a third party. This admission of corruption provoked indignation and calls for accountability inside the RMC.

Following the release of Mokariya's interview in a Gujarati daily, local press outlets rushed to his home for additional comments. However, Mokariya was obviously irritated and declined to elaborate on his claims, claiming that the issue was old and had occurred prior to his tenure as a Rajya Sabha member. His rage boiled over when he threw a TV journalist out of his home, accusing them of criminal trespassing.

In a following interview with a television station, Mokariya diverted attention by asking why the media had not reported on the illegal operation of the TRP game zone for years. He also praised his own efforts during the recent TRP game zone fire catastrophe, stating that despite his bad health and recent hospitalization, he hurried to the scene and stayed the entire night.

The dispute comes at a time when local BJP leaders, including Mokariya, Parshottam Rupala, and the city mayor, have come under heavy scrutiny in the aftermath of the Rajkot TRP zone fire catastrophe. Following the incident, local journalists have targeted these officials, challenging their role and duty in ensuring safety and regulatory compliance.

In response to the fire disaster and the growing criticism, the local BJP unit organized a news conference to announce that the party will not celebrate its expected victory in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections out of respect for the victims. However, the press conference was abruptly derailed when journalists began raising charges about the party's involvement in the fire catastrophe.

The session ended quickly as the city Mayor, harried by questions, swiftly exited the site on her two-wheeled vehicle. Ram Mokariya's charges have fueled the current discussion over corruption and accountability in Rajkot's municipal governance.

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