As the number of public servants getting caught taking bribes has gone down during the Covid-19 pandemic, the successful trap laid by the Thane unit of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) at the Talathi office in the coastal belt of Uttan near Bhayandar on Thursday has yet again exposed the interference and brazen access of middlemen and private agents to crucial land related documents in the revenue wing of Thane district.
The ACB unit arrested a private mediator identified as- Sameer Muzawar (40) while accepting a bribe of Rs. 20,000 allegedly on behalf of the local Talathi on Thursday afternoon. According to officials, the middleman landed into the ACB net after he was caught red handed while accepting the bribe money from the complainant to carry out official documentation work related to valid inclusion of his name in the 7/12 extracts of his land in the village. The original demand was pegged at Rs. 80,000 which was scaled down to Rs. 60,000 after negotiations, officials said.
Following a complaint, a team led by Police Inspector-Laxman Rathod under the instructions of SP- Dr. Mahesh Patil, laid a trap and nabbed Muzawar while taking the first installment of the bribe amount.
A case under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered in this context. While, Talathi (Uttan) -Uttamrao Shedge (50)- is under the scanner of investigations, the ACB team is also probing the role of two officials who hold senior positions in the revenue department of Thane district for their suspected involvement in the graft case.
Notably, the state revenue department has been earning notoriety by repeatedly clocking the maximum number of corruption cases every year as mediators play a crucial role in negotiating deals and accepting bribe money on the behest of public servants.