The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Monday arrested an Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe from a junior forest official.
The accused person has been identified as Baliram Kolekar (57), an ACF posted at Deputy Conservator of Forest office at Naupada in Thane, having jurisdiction at Murbad and Thane.
According to the ACB, the complainant in the case is a Range Forest Officer (RFO) and is posted at Tokawde (South). "Accused had demanded a 5 per cent bribe from the funds of Rs 18 lakh received from the government for plantation in 2020-21. The amount demanded was Rs 92000," the ACB claimed in a statement.
"The complainant had also been repeatedly following up Kolekar and his superior officers for release of funds of Rs 1.06 crore for years 2020-21 and 2021-22 for plantation and other works from the district planning scheme. Kolekar had demanded 5 per cent of the amount which is Rs 5.30 lakh in order to get the funds cleared," the statement alleged.
The complainant who did not wish to pay the bribe, approached the ACB and lodged a complaint on September 06. The ACB then verified the allegations made by the complainant and it was established that Kolekar had demanded Rs 92000 and Rs 5.30 lakh bribe.
"On Monday a trap was laid and Kolekar was caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 5.30 lakh from the complainant. He has been booked under section 7 (Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) of The Prevention of Corruption Act. Cash Rs 12.46 lakh has been seized during the office search of Kolekar," the statement read.