PROACTIVE ROLE FOR INTEL UNIT
Mumbai: The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) intelligence wing has ferreted out instances of graft due to the use of sophisticated gadgets and by cutting red tape.
The agency registered 350 cases across Maharashtra between January and April and arrested 477 government officials for demanding or pocketing bribes. Sources said the agency would earlier rely on taped telephonic conversations as evidence in bribery trials. “We are required to do some legwork to establish that there was a bribe demand. We have supplied our personnel with spy cameras concealed in pens, wristwatches and keychains to obtain clear footage and arrest the persons concerned following a p a n c h n a m a,” said the official.
Earlier the agency focused on the cases that it received, but now proactive investigators are increasingly using the ACB’s intelligence unit to ensnare scamsters. “The officials, who have been entrusted with the task of getting intelligence on corrupt government servants, also encourage harassed citizens to approach the ACB. The motivation
part is very important,” said an ACB officer. “Our sleuths guide citizens and then it is up to the victim to come forward and lodge a complaint,” he added. The arrest of Arthur Road jail superintendent, Vasudev Barkule, and his deputy, Pradip Pathrikar, was the result of ACB’s intelligence wing’s legwork. “Our officials got information that the accused had demanded a bribe from a jailor to clear him in an internal exam. The ACB official encouraged the person concerned to report the matter and expose the wrongdoing,” an ACB source said. “The complainant approached us around 11am and we recorded his statement, corroborated the details and laid a trap by 7pm on the same day at Arthur Road prison,” he added. Hidden cameras were used in the top-secret operation.