Thane: Thane Sessions Court Additional Session Judge R.R.Kakani on June 18, 2022, rejected the bail plea of Dhananjay Janardan Shirsath (42), assistant commissioner, state tax, GST department, Thane for allegedly accepting the bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a hotelier in Thane on June 14. The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Thane laid a trap after receiving the complaint from the complainant and arrested Shirsath red-handedly.
The facts of the case are that the applicant who applied for the bail served as assistant commissioner of the sales tax department in Thane and demanded a bribe of Rs 50 lakh from the complainant Pradeep Shankar Shetty who runs a hotel in Thane. The accused demanded Rs 50 lakh for not imposing a fine of Rs 1 crore for not having an assessment of the preceding year and for providing a new GST number. Since the complainant was not willing to pay the negotiated with the applicant and after settlement, he agreed to pay Rs 30 lakh to him.
The complainant then approached ACB, Thane and on June 14, 2022, a necessary trap was arranged and the applicant was red-handed caught while accepting the first instalment of a bribe of Rs 20 lakh. Accordingly, the deputy superintendent of police Thane ACB Maya More registered a case under various sections of IPC and under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Applicant Advocate V.R.Sali said, "Applicant is innocent and he is falsely implicated in this case. Further, it is alleged no incriminating articles are recovered from him nor there was the demand of bribe and therefore he prayed to grant the bail."
Prosecutor S.D.Londhe said, "In case of bail to the applicant the likelihood of pressurising or threatening to witnesses cannot be ruled out. It is alleged the applicant is serving on top and is influential and in the case of bail, his interference in the investigation cannot be ruled out and on the ground of it his bail application should be rejected."
Additional Session Judge R.R.Kakani said, "After hearing both the sides in length I would like to mention that bail is not to be withheld merely as a punishment and the requirements as to bail are merely to secure the attendance of the accused at the trial. Where the offence is not bailable the Court has to decide the question of grant of bail in the light of such considerations as the nature and offence, the character of the evidence, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused and many other considerations and in this case applicant is red handed caught while accepting the huge amount of bribe of Rs 20 lakh. In Omkarchand V/s. State of Punjab 1978 Cr. L.J. 44 it was held by the High Court that there is a greater justification for denying bail to the persons charged with high corruption as such persons there is a danger of subversion of evidence against them by using money power. At present, there is strong material against the applicant for proving his complicity in the commission of the offence. It may cause an impact on the society and if such type of offender is released on the bail."
Kakani further added, "It is fact that the applicant is a public servant and there is no possibility of fleeing from justice but it cannot be ignored the possibility of committing a similar type of offence by the applicant in case he is released in bail so I am convinced by the apprehension expressed by the prosecution about interference by the applicant in case he is released on bail so considering all the above observations no bail can be granted to the applicant and it is rejected."
The Free Press Journal on 15th June reported about the assistant commissioner of sales tax department of Thane arrested by ACP while accepting a bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a hotelier from Thane.