Maharashtra IAS officer bribe tapes: Former aide-turned-complainant recorded 150 callsmumbai Updated: Aug 05, 2017 00:55 IST
While HT has not verified the authenticity of the 35 tapes of phone conversations made public, these conversations, mostly between Mangale and Mopalwar, if proved genuine, could land several senior officials, developers and even politicians in trouble. (HT)
An audio clip of IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar allegedly talking about bribes and which saw him removed from his post as managing director of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) on Thursday, pending inquiry, is just one of the 150 calls recorded between 2014 and 2016 by his former aide and private detective, Satish Mangale. Mopalwar was heading chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ Mumbai-Nagpur expressway project.
While HT has not verified the authenticity of the 35 tapes of phone conversations made public, these conversations, mostly between Mangale and Mopalwar, if proved genuine, could land several senior officials, developers and even politicians in trouble. (A CD of these calls is with HT).
Mopalwar said these tapes were doctored. He did not respond to HT’s query over Mangale’s claims of having worked for him. Mangale, who has been in hiding since last August after his fallout with Mopalwar and his alleged kidnapping, told HT the decision to release the clips was taken after he got no response from the state government despite various complaints.
“I transcribed 35 out of the 150-odd telephonic conversations between Mopalwar and me and some with his family. I had sent these 35 clips to all authorities for a probe into his assets. But for more than six months, the state has been sitting on the investigation. These tapes have been verified by a state-recognised agency,’’ claimed Mangale. Mangale told HT, “I was hired by him to handle his divorce settlement with his second wife, which included Rs 35 crore in cash and Rs65 crore in property. This was completed in two years and I was paid a fee.’’
The former aide said he worked for the bureaucrat for nearly five years before his fallout with him in 2016. Mopalwar has rubbished the claims made by Mangale.
“These forged and doctored audio clips have been made viral by individuals who have a background of procuring call data records illegally. This individual is on bail in such CDR crimes as well as in a case of attempted extortion and in a rape case,’’Mopalwar said on Thursday. He said the truth of the tapes and the case would be revealed in the state inquiry.
The audio clip, which went viral, had led to demands of Mopalwar’s resignation in the legislature, resulting in his removal. The clip allegedly has Mopalwar asking for a bribe and talking about rates, ‘not less than Rs 1crore’ to be paid in Mantralaya for getting possession of a 15,000 sq m plot in Borivli. The other conversations revolve around organising money to be paid to Mopalwar’s wife and indiscreet references to money to be received from certain developers, black money, land deals, settling matters in exchange for money and purchase of properties.
Mopalwar, who was posted as MSRDC vice-chairman by Fadnavis government, had also enjoyed plum postings earlier, including the chairman of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board , collector of land revenue management with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. Mangale had submitted complaint letters along with two CDs – one of 35 audio clips and one of Mopalwar’s assets — to various authorities, including the state general administration and home department headed by the chief minister. The complaint submitted to the PM’s office in December 2016 had also been forwarded to the additional chief secretary of GAD, independently in April this year. Despite calls and text messages, there was no response from the CMO or GAD on these complaints.