Govt suspends archaeology dept director involved in bribery case | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Govt suspends archaeology dept director involved in bribery case

Jun 13, 2024 07:56 AM IST

The Maharashtra government has suspended Tejas Madan Garge, director of Maharashtra Archaeology and Museums, for his alleged involvement in a bribery case being investigated by the Nashik unit of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB)

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has suspended Tejas Madan Garge, director of Maharashtra Archaeology and Museums, for his alleged involvement in a bribery case being investigated by the Nashik unit of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB). The government has also directed the department to conduct an audit of the decisions taken by Garge in the recent past and chalk out a policy to curb corrupt practices.

Govt suspends archaeology dept director involved in bribery case
Govt suspends archaeology dept director involved in bribery case

Last month, ACB’s Nashik unit booked assistant director Aarti Aley (41) while accepting a bribe of 1.5 lakh at her residence. During the investigation, the agency found Garge’s involvement. Garge, who has moved court for anticipatory bail, has been absconding since the incident.

Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, on Tuesday signed the file of the suspension of Garge with retrospective effect from May 16. “The orders have been issued by the cultural affairs department today. An internal departmental inquiry will also be conducted against him,” said an official from cultural affairs department.

Aley had allegedly demanded a bribe of 1.5 lakh to issue a no objection certificate for a factory unit that the complainant wanted to start in Nashik. Based on the complaint, ACB caught Aley raid handed while accepting the bribe at her Nashik residence. The ACB unit made Aley call Garge to inform him about the money and he directed her to keep the cash with her. The NOC was cleared by the head office in Mumbai headed by Garge.

The ACB has not arrested Aley on humanitarian grounds as she had delivered a baby just eight days before she was raided last month.

Questions were raised over the delay in action against Garge, whose charge has already been handed over to another officer. When asked about this delay, Mungantiwar said, “There was not deliberate delay, but because of administrative reasons. I was busy in the Lok Sabha polls, our principal secretary was abroad. We have now taken action and have also taken corrective steps to avoid such things in the future.”

In a letter to the cultural department, Mungantiwar has called for an audit of the decisions taken by Garge and Aley in the past few years. “Also, the audit of the NOCs issued by these officers should be conducted. A study committee should be constituted to introduce more transparency in the affairs of the department,” the letter states.

Garge is absconding and his phone numbers are switched off and hence not reachable for comment.

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