An assistant public relations officer (PRO) of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was arrested on Friday by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) while accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a readymade garment stall owner.
Assistant PRO VA Chavan was arrested in the evening in the BMC head office (near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) while accepting the amount from Ramdev Gupta who owns the stall at Fashion Street in South Mumbai. Gupta wanted permission from the BMC to put shutter in his stall.
Additional Deputy Commissioner, ACB Mumbai, Vilas Tupe confirmed the trap.
Infact, a senior ACB officer said that Chavan had allegedly asked Gupta to collect Rs 1.5 lakh from each stall owner in Fashion Street after which he would help them all in getting permission to put shutters in their stalls. As per BMC rules, the stall owners in Fashion Street cannot put shutters. Fashion Street has about 300 stalls.
The officer said that Chavan even promised a commission to Gupta for collecting money from every stall owner.
It started about a month back when Gupta made an application to BMC authorities for permission to put up shutter in his stall. He met Chavan to seek guidance when the latter gave him the idea to unite everyone and apply for permission. Chavan allegedly told him that he would help them in getting permission for monetary consideration.
The officer said that Chavan even visited Fashion Street recently and spoke to some stall owners. "The stall owners told Chavan that Gupta would deal with him on their behalf," the officer said.
Tupe said that on Thursday Gupta approached the ACB and lodged a complaint. Gupta promised Chavan to give some advance on Friday evening and accordingly a trap was laid.
No sooner Gupta handed over the money to Chavan in the latter's cabin and as he kept the same in his shirt pocket, the ACB officers caught him.
Chavan would be produced in the special anti-corruption court on Saturday.
When contacted RA Rajeev, Additional Municipal Commissioner told HT that it is an unfortunate incident and Chavan should be punished according to the law of the land.