Friday, April 18, 2014

Arthur Rd jail chief, deputy held for graft

Mateen Hafeez & S Ahmed Ali TNN

Mumbai: The anti-corruption bureau on Wednesday night arrested Arthur Road jail superintendent Vasudev Burkule and his deputy, Pradip Pathrikar, for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 40,000 for clearing a candidate in an examination for jailors.
    The police recovered Rs 40 lakh and gold ornaments from Barkule’s jail residence in Byculla, and found he had savings accounts and bank fixed deposits amounting to more than Rs 1 crore.
    Cases of corruption within the state’s most sensitive jail have been reported earlier, but this is the first time the superintendent of the prison, where Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was kept, has been found to be involved in a bribery case.
   The complainant, a jail officer, had appeared for an examination for the post of jailor on March 25. The exam papers came to Burkule for assessment. The complainant approached Pathrikar for help to clear the exams. When the matter reached Burkule, he said the complainant’s performance in the exam was “weak” and demanded Rs 40,000 to clear him.  

ACB listened in on phone call with prison chief 

    The superintendent of Arthur Road Jail, Vasudev Burkule, and his deputy, Pradip Pathrikar, have been arrested in a case of bribery. 

    “The complainant (a jail officer) came to us at 11.30am on Wednesday and narrated his story. We went through his application and then set a trap,” said Vishwas Nangre-Patil, additional commissioner of police, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).  Three police inspectors and 16 constables led by an assistant commissioner reached the jail at 7pm. The complainant went to Pathrikar’s residence, adjacent to the jail, and before handing him over the money, called up Burkule at 7.17pm. He spoke to him till 7.47pm, and later again for two minutes. The conversations included a demand for a bribe. 

    The ACB team entered the house soon after Pathrikar accepted the bribe on behalf of Burkule, and placed him under arrest. The team then headed to the jail, where Burkule stays in the barracks.
    When the team knocked on his door and told him they were from the ACB, he tried to be aggressive. 

    “Burkule surrendered after hearing that Pathrikar
had already been arrested. We found Rs 70,000 in his pocket. The two sales tax officers, who acted as independent panchas, displayed their IDs too,” said additional CP, ACB, Vishwas Nangre-Patil. 

    The police team used wristwatch, pen and keychain cameras in the top-se
cret operation.  Burkule and Pathrikar, who have been suspended, have been remanded in police custody till April 19.  
TOP SECRET OPERATION The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Wednesday night arrested Arthur Road jail superintendent Vasudev Burkule and his deputy, Pradip Pathrikar, for demanding and accepting a bribe of 40,000 for clearing a candidate in an exam for jailors
ACTION TAKEN The two have been suspended, and have been remanded to police custody till April 19
WHAT WAS RECOVERED A search of Arthur Road jail superintendent Vasudev Burkule resulted in the recovery of 40 lakh, a State Bank of India (Nanded) fixed deposit (FD) of 12.50 lakh, Bank of Maharashtra (Nanded) FD of 5 lakh, 5 lakh in a savings account, 75 tolas gold in a locker, and SBI (Agripada) 20 lakh in a savings account. Nothing incriminating was found at the residence of his deputy, Pradip Pathrikar
Other sources of income in jail
    Regular flow of money from inmates and relatives for facilities
    Home food, cigarettes and cell phones regularly supplied inside
    Two jail officials were suspended for negligence following attack on gangster Abu Salem inside Taloja jail 

WHO STAYED THERE Gangsters Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan and Arun Gawli, all 1993 serial bomb blast accused, Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and Indian Mujaheedin members


This is not only about corruption. It’s a serious security threat if people in charge of the state’s most sensitive prison are found to be compromised. The government needs to take more care when it comes to such sensitive appointments. It’s not any prison we are talking about; this concerns the Arthur Road jail, which hosts prisoners like Ajmal Kasab.

The Times of India, April 18, 2014

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