146 persons from state education department caught by ACB in past 4 years
The shocking revelation comes on the back of state education commissioner Suraj Mandhare on Tuesday sought an investigation into officials from his own department accused of involvement in corruption, bribery and other malpractices
It has come to light that as many as 146 persons from the state education department have been caught in the Anti-Corruption Department (ACB) net in the last four years. The shocking revelation comes on the back of state education commissioner Suraj Mandhare on Tuesday sought an investigation into officials from his own department accused of involvement in corruption, bribery and other malpractices.
According to Mandhare, most of the officials into whom he has sought a probe have served as education officers in different districts of Maharashtra. Many of them have been booked in corruption cases in the past even as some have faced inquiries. After initial investigation however, these persons have managed to return to service by getting witnesses to dilute the cases against them. Mandhare has named 40 persons including his education department colleagues and teachers. He has said that there has been negative feedback against these officials. Mandhare, in his letter, has sought an open inquiry against all such officials. An ‘open’ inquiry means that the ACB can summon people for recording statements, call for salary information, and seek details about movable and immovable assets. If the probe finds enough evidence, the ambit of the case expands and an FIR can be registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act. If no evidence of corruption is found, the inquiry can be closed. Mandhare has urged the ACB to conduct a thorough investigation under the open inquiry.
According to the data shared by the ACB, as many as 87 traps were laid in the last four years against state education department officers and a total 146 officers from various districts of Maharashtra were caught in these traps. The highest number of traps (28) were laid by the ACB in 2022 and the highest number of people (51) were caught in these traps the same year. Malpractices worth ₹1,478,375 were caught in 2023; malpractices worth ₹657,150 in 2022; ₹567,150 in 2021; and ₹361,280 in 2020. The ACB data further revealed that a total 47 and 49 suspension proposals were sent to the state education department in 2023 and 2022, respectively. However, no action has been taken by the concerned department till date.
Asked why no action has been taken till date on the suspension proposals, Mandhare said, “Precisely because of that, I have demanded an open inquiry into the matter. Many of the officials have been booked in corruption cases in the past while some have faced inquiries. After initial investigation, these persons have returned to service by getting witnesses to dilute the cases against them. Hence, I have sought an open inquiry.’’
According to Mandhare, he has received a very positive response from the ACB and they have started the inquiry process.