GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - A Mandal was today caught red-handed while taking bribe, in an incident that exposes the murky affairs at the Office of the Circle Officer, Dispur Revenue Circle.
The action by the Anti Corruption Branch of the Assam Police came following a complaint by a retired employee of a PSU, who was being asked to pay money for clearing some sale permissions.
The complainant had applied for obtaining sale permission for six residential flats constructed by him in a plot of land at Beltola. The Circle Office had acknowledged receipt of the application along with all required documents on March 5 this year.
The application was not acted upon even after six months, and later the accused Mandal, identified as Lachit Thakuria, started demanding money � eight thousands for each permission � totalling Rs 48,000.
However, the complainant was not willing to pay the bribe and approached Inspector General of Police (anti-corruption and vigilance) Anurag Tankha and under his guidance and supervision of Superintendent of Police Nilesh, a trap was laid, leading to the arrest of the Mandal around 2 pm this afternoon.
The 57-year old Lachit Thakuria hails from Palasbari and had been looking after the Bormotoria, Sarumotoria and Rukminigaon areas under the Dispur Circle Office.
�The bribe money of Rs 8,000 was seized from the accused and connected documents also taken into custody. He will be produced before a court tomorrow,� an official said.
The role of higher-ups in the Circle Office is also under the scanner. The complainant had approached the higher-ups when Thakuria started dilly-dallying in the work, but there was no action on their part.
�If the application was valid why was there a delay of six months in granting it? And if there were any lapses, why was the applicant not told? Moreover, it is hard to believe that the higher-ups in the Circle Office are not aware about it. If they were not aware, their efficiency is questionable,� sources said.
There had been frequent complaints about inordinate delays in processing even small matters at the Circle Office. �There is no accountability at all. Some people are forced to visit the Circle Office again and again to get even some small works done. I wonder why the BJP-led government which swears by its anti-corruption slogan is silent and has not taken any action against the higher officials nor put in place a time-bound and transparent mechanism for processing files,� rued a commoner who was witness to the operation at the Circle Office today.
Interestingly, the Mandal demanded money from the complainant saying that he would have to give it to other officials, though he did not specify the names.
People who had gathered at the Circle Office during the time of the operation said they are being forced to pay for even some small works and expressed happiness at the arrest.