Refusing to grease the palms of a greedy public servant, a Delhi-based architect decided to teach him a lesson.
He informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the agency recorded the entire incident on camera. The accused was arrested red handed while taking a bribe and has been remanded in CBI custody.
A senior officer said the junior level officer had been arrested for a similar offence earlier. He had come in an Toyota Corona car to accept the bribe, said the officer.
According to CBI, last Sunday, architect Hitesh Chaddha received a notice from the Land and Revenue Department that he had to pay Rs 4 lakh for ‘misuse of agricultural land.’ Chaddha owns a farmhouse in Mehrauli.
“As it was a Sunday, I felt there was something wrong. How can a government agency slap a notice on a public holiday? I decided to approach the official concerned,” said Chaddha, the complainant.
The accused identified as Iqbal Singh was posted as patwari (land official) at the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s (SDM) office in Mehrauli.
“When I approached him, he started negotiating with me. He told me that I needed to pay the amount since the area SDM and other officials of the land department also had share in it,” said Chaddha.
On March 12, the accused official asked Chaddha to meet him outside his office in Mehrauli and he started negotiating the amount. He said he would not settle for anything less than Rs 2.5 lakh, Chaddha said.
On Saturday, the accused asked Chaddha to meet him in the parking lot of his office.
A team of 15 officers from the CBI accompanied Chaddha and a trap was laid.
“After I reached outside his office, he asked me to wait in the parking lot. He did not receive the money himself and instead asked his accomplice to keep it in the boot of his Corona car. Once the exchange was made, the CBI officials swooped into action and tried to apprehend him. He tried to flee but was arrested,” said Chaddha.
Investigation revealed that the ‘notice’ sent to Chaddha was fake.