Gujarat: Congress MLA arrested for accepting bribe from person accused irrigation scam

Sabariya had allegedly demanded Rs 60 lakhs and later settled for 35 lakhs from the prime accused in the irrigation scam, in return for not raising the issue in the Assembly and with the state government.

Congress MLA from Dhrangadhra, Gujarat, Parsotam Sabariya was arrested on Sunday for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe from persons accused in an irrigation scam in Morbi district, over 60 kilometers from Rajkot.

A team of Morbi police had picked up Sabariya from his residence in Trajpar village on the outskirts of Morbi town at around 4 am on Sunday and had brought him to Morbi town for questioning. After grilling him for hours, he was formally arrested by ‘A’ Division police in Morbi town at 2 pm.

Besides Sabariya, a lawyer named Bharat Ganesh, an executive engineer in the irrigation department, CD Kanani, a contractual person, and two others have earlier been arrested in connection with a scam pertaining to construction and repair of dams, digging of ponds and repair and restoration of percolation tanks in villages in Morbi district.

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Karanraj Vaghela, Superintendent of Police, Morbi, said that Sabariya had demanded Rs 60 lakhs from some accused in the irrigation scam, in return for not raising the issue in the Assembly and with the state government. He ultimately settled for Rs 35 lakhs, out of which Rs. 10 lakh was given to him through a middleman. Another Rs 25 lakh was given to the middleman in the form of a cheque, Vaghela said.

Inspector RJ Chaudhary of Morbi ‘A’ Division police station confirmed, that the alleged middleman identified as Bharat Vakil has also been arrested.

According to police, a grant of Rs 20 crore required for 334 minor irrigation projects was approved by the Gujarat government in villages in Morbi district. SP Vaghela furthered that the state government, after receiving complaints, had launched an investigation into the irrigation projects which revealed irregularities and mismanagement of Rs 1.12 crore in 51 such projects. Other projects are also being inspected for suspected irregularities and corruption.

Similarly last month, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case of money laundering against Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar. The case was in relation to the income tax raids which were carried out at his premises last year and a huge sum of cash was allegedly recovered. DK Shivakumar has also been accused of being involved in illegal mining and land scams.

In another such case, a Manipur Congress MLA had been reportedly arrested in August in connection with a missing arms case. The National Investigation Agency has arrested Manipur Congress MLA Yamthong Haokip for having a connection with the theft of 56 pistols and 58 magazines from Director General of Police’s armoury located within the premises of 2nd Manipur Rifles Battalion, Imphal between September 2016 and early 2017.

Last year too, we had reported how Mumbai police nabbed Mohammad Jamadar, vice-president, South Mumbai District Congress Committee, in an alleged 15kg gold smuggling racket. Earlier, Ashton Sequeira, an NSUI (student wing of the Indian National Congress) leader (District Secretary) had been arrested among 5 others for stealing and attempting to sell antiquated idols of Jain Tirthankaras worth crores of rupees.

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