Special Tahsildar, police constable arrested while receiving ₹3 lakh as bribe to evict encroachments

Published - May 15, 2024 02:41 am IST - CHENNAI

A Special Tahsildar in Adyar and a police constable were caught while demanding and receiving ₹3 lakh as bribe for evicting encroachments from a government land in Injambakkam on Tuesday.

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) officials arrested them on charges under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Pon Thangavel, a social activist from Injambakkam, has been fighting for removing encroachments on government lands in his area. Since the officials concerned failed to act on his complaints, he had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court. The court had ordered the Corporation officials to evict the encroachments and file a compliance report.

He approached the Assistant Commissioner, Chennai Corporation, Zone 15 seeking steps based on the High Court order but to no avail. So, he met the Regional Deputy Commissioner South, M.P.Amith, who assured him that encroachments would be removed in three days. He also instructed special Tahsildar Saroja to follow up the issue.

Meanwhile, Ms. Saroja called the complainant, Thangavel, and told him that if the encroachments were removed, the land value in the area would go up. Hence, she asked Thangavel to collect money from the landowners in the area and pay her ₹1 crore. Thangavel, who was shocked left the place.

Later, Ms. Saroja called him to her house and demanded ₹20 lakh. She asked him to pay ₹5 lakh as an advance and pay the remaining amount on completion of the eviction proceedings. On Thangavel’s request she agreed to reduce the initial amount to ₹3 lakh and asked him to bring the money to her office on Tuesday. Thangavel lodged a complaint with DVAC

On the advice of DVAC sleuths, Thangavel went with the money to the office of Assistant Commissioner, Chennai Corporation, Adyar where he met Ms. Saroja. She instructed a police constable M.Arunkumar, attached to the Mount Police Station, Crime to collect the money and hand it over to her husband Praveen, who is a head constable attached with Mount Armed Reserve Police. When he collected the money, he was caught by the DVAC officials.

On the confession of Arunkumar, the DVAC officials arrested Saroja, special Tahsildar and Arunkumar and sent them to a court for remand.

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