The state government on Thursday gave its clearance for the prosecution of three serving class-1 officers from the Public Works Department (PWD) who have been booked in the Mahatrashtra Sadan and Kalina University scams. Former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal also faces charges in both scams.
The three officers who now face prosecution are Anilkumar Gaikwad, then superintending engineer, Bipin Sankhe, then architect, and Sanjay Solanki, then undersecretary. Gaikwad and Solanki have been charged for the Kalina University scam, in which a prime plot of land at Kalina in Santacruz (East) was leased to a private developer for a pittance. Gaikwad and Sankhe face charges over the redevelopment of Maharashtra Sadan, the state guest house in New Delhi.
“Gaikwad is an accused in both cases while Sankhe and Solanki face charges in one each. This move shows the state government is positive about the development of the case. We had asked for sanction to prosecute them in the last week of July,” said a high-ranking Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officer, who did not wish to be named.
Section 19 in The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 says the ACB must ask the state for permission to prosecute government employees charged with corruption. Without this sanction, a court cannot take cognisance of offences punishable under the act. “We have now the sanction to prosecute the serving officers. We do not require this for those who have retired,” said another ACB officer.
The first information reports in both cases state that the officers in question misused their official posts. In the Maharashtra Sadan case, the accused allegedly claimed in a status report that the developer stood to make a profit of 1.33% on his investment, whereas the actual profit was 365.36 %.
Former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, his son Pankaj, nephew Sameer and 14 others, including government officers, face charges in the Maharashtra Sadan scam, while Bhujbal and five other government officers have been booked in the Kalina University scam.