Ex-agriculture Director of Maharashtra acquitted in bribery case
July 21, 2011
Every now and then, I read of a case of graft – that some official has been arrested red handed while taking a bribe.
Usually, such cases are followed up by searches at the residence(s) and other connected places of the official, leading to recovery of unaccounted wealth.
Invariably, in such cases, apart from the allegation of accepting bribe, the concerned Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) also files a case quantifying unaccounted assets worth crores of rupees ( 1 crore = 10 million).
Even in the extreme case, where no unaccounted assets are found, I would believe that cases where an official is caught red handed should be the easiest to prove in our courts.
But unfortunately, most cases end up in acquittals !
Agriculture Director of Maharashtra arrested
Prakash Wamanrao Mahindre, then Agriculture Director of Maharashtra, was arrested in 2005 for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 50,000 from Rajkumar Bhanudas Dhargude, a businessman.
According to the complaint filed by Dhargude, Mahindre had demanded bribe of Rs 2 lakh each for issuing three new licences and renewing another four.
The ACB, Pune conducted a search at Mahindre’s residence at Central Park Apartment on Ambedkar Road and recovered cash and ornaments totalling
They arrested Mahindre for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Finally, the ACB, Pune registered a case of amassing wealth against Mahindre and his wife Priya under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. They quantified his assets at Rs 3.02 crores.
Mahindre was suspended from the service in 2005. During the suspension period, he retired from service.
Defence lawyer Sudhir Shah argued that the jute bag containing Rs 50,000, which was recovered from Mahindre’s cabin at Central Building, was planted there.
The Special court of S N Sardesai in Pune acquitted Prakash Wamanrao Mahindre.
What is not understandable is the way the case was investigated and presented and what happened to the other charge of amassing wealth.
Obviously, the search team had not done its home work. May be, with today’s, modern equipments, proving a case would be easier.
And acquittal will not be that easy.
The Silver Lining
The silver lining in such cases is that the culprit is suspended, the case drags on for years, and apart from the fact that the culprit does not receive his full salary, perks, and promotion, he has to spend a lot of money on his lawyers which itself is a sort of punishment.