In a one-of-its-kind case, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis initiated a trap that was laid by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB).
By involving himself in getting an officer from law and judiciary department - which is headed by him - arrested in a graft case on Wednesday and ensuring it is widely published in the media, the CM intended to send a message to the administration that corruption will not be tolerated.
The officer approached an advocate from Arvi in Wardha after he learnt that the licence to operate notary was being approved by the department. The advocate, who is said to be very close to the CM, informed him about this.
Fadnavis called the complainant to his office in Vidhan Bhavan and initiated a trap against the officer. He monitored the four-hour operation with the help of ACB head Praveen Dixit. The officer was arrested at around 7.30pm, opposite a hotel at CST.
The officer, Milind Kadam, an undersecretary rank officer from the department, was appointed as nodal officer by the department with the responsibility of briefing the CM and minister of state Ranjit Patil. Fadnavis was miffed as the name was recommended by the department head and principal secretary MA Sayyed.
Kadam assured the complainant that he would have the order issued and demanded Rs 5 lakh but lowered it to Rs 3.5 lakh, said ACB sources. He was caught accepting of Rs 45, 000, the first instalment.
Patil said, “He (Kadam) was not appointed as my personal assistant or secretary but was appointed to brief me on departmental matters. In fact, the CM and I initiated the trap,” Patil said.
ACB sources said the complainant approached Fadnavis for advice, who asked him to make a complaint and arranged for the amount for the first instalment.
A high-ranking ACB officer said, “Kadam asked the complainant to walk with him and accepted the money near GPO. The ACB sleuths, who were trailing them, caught him red-handed.”
As per the ACB procedure, the money used for traps has to be arranged by the complainant which is later handed over to him after court’s intervention. “The money was arranged by the CM as the complainant did not have it. He congratulated the ACB on our success,” the officer added.