The Gujarat Police on Sunday arrested Congress MLA Parsottam Sabariya for allegedly demanding a bribe from persons accused in the irrigation scam.
The Gujarat Police on Sunday arrested Congress MLA Parsottam Sabariya for allegedly demanding a bribe from persons accused in the irrigation scam. According to a report in The Indian Express, the Dhrangadhra MLA was taken into custody from Morbi yesterday. Police said that Sabariya had demanded Rs 40 lakh bribe from accused persons for not raising the issue at local level and inside the Assembly as well.
According to police, Sabariya had already accepted Rs 10 lakh from the accused persons and the remaining was to be delivered to him later. Besides Sabariya, police said that they have also arrested a middleman who has been identified as Bharat Ganeshiya, a lawyer from Halvad town of Morbi district.
Morbi SP Karanraj Vaghela said that Sabariya through his associate Bharat Ganeshiya had demanded Rs 40 lakh from accused persons. In return, he had assured them that he will not raise the issue of irregularities in repair and restoration of minor irrigation schemes at the local level and also inside the Assembly when it meets for business.
“They eventually finalised the deal for Rs 35 lakh and accepted Rs 10 lakh through installments from the prime accused and representatives of societies (which had been assigned the work contract),” Vaghela said.
Police said that they have not recovered any cash from Sabariya till now. “But middleman Ganeshiya had issued Sabariya a cheque as security for the balance payment of Rs 25 lakh,” Banno Joshi, Deputy SP, Morbi division, said.
The Congress party, however, slammed the police action and accused the BJP of targeting the opposition leaders. The party said that ruling BJP is trying to shield “its bigwigs involved in the scam”.
“Does the state government act on any issue which is raised on the floor of the House?… Sabariya has been targeted by the police as BJP bigwigs in Morbi are involved in the scam,” Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
The latest arrest comes a month after an FIR was filed on the basis of a complaint moved by Satish Upadhyay, an executive engineer of Irrigation Department in Morbi district panchayat.
The complainant had alleged that then executive engineer CD Kanani had sanctioned Rs 20.31 crore for repair and restoration of 334 percolation tanks, check dams and other minor irrigation schemes in 2017-18 and 2018-19. He said that thought the sanctioned money was withdrawn, no major work was done on the ground.
Last month, the Irrigation department after receiving the complaint formed five committees to conduct spot inspection of the projects. After spot inspection of 46 projects, the committees concluded that the amount of work shown in documents had actually not been done. It alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 66.91 lakh in the inspected projects.
Later, Upadhyay filed a police complaint at the behest of Narmada, Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpasar Department. Based on the complaint, Kanani and three others were arrested.