Satish Chikhlikar, the Nashik public works department (PWD) executive engineer arrested for bribery and amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, has allegedly claimed being only a cog in the wheel of a well-oiled system, anti-corruption bureau (ACB) sleuths said Tuesday. Under the system, he allegedly said, five engineers collected bribes and passed on to seniors.
ACB is verifying his claim and other PWD engineers might be called for questioning.
Meanwhile, Swati, wife of Chikhlikar who had been missing since his arrest on April 30, surfaced Tuesday. She presented herself at the Nashik ACB office and was questioned. Police said 80 per cent of Chikhlikar properties were in her name.
Chikhlikar and colleague Jagdish Wagh were arrested by Nashik ACB for allegedly demanding and accepting Rs 22,000 from a contractor to clear a road project. Raids on residences and bank lockers of Chikhlikar revealed assets worth Rs 14.28 crore.
“Chikhlikar claimed during interrogation he was one of five engineers with Nashik PWD who would accept bribes and pass on the money to seniors. He said they would take turns to seek and accept bribes, suggesting a racket,” said director general of police, ACB, Raj Khilnani.
He, however, refused to reveal names of the other four engineers. Asked if these engineers had been or would be questioned, Khilnani said: “We cannot solely rely on verbal claims. We are investigating.”
ACB will soon file a separate case of disproportionate assets against Chikhlikar. Apart from Rs 8 crore cash, his assets include gold bars, jewellery and a number of properties, including a 16,000-square-foot commercial space in Aurangabad.