Kerala village officer arrested while taking bribe of Rs 1 lakh

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had received a complaint about the village officer seeking bribe from a man for an ownership certificate.
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On Tuesday, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) arrested a village officer and his aide while accepting Rs 1 lakh bribe at his office in Kochi, officials said. Sajesh, village officer at the Elamkulam Village Office under Kanayannur Taluk, was arrested by VACB officials as he accepted the amount at 6 pm from the complainant and handed it over to his friend Varghese.

Officials said that a trap was set up for the village officer following a complaint from Antro. Antro had approached the village officer in July last year with an application to legally obtain the ownership of four cents of land he had got from his mother. The village officer had then allegedly sought Rs 1.5 lakh bribe for providing him the certificate. When Antro approached Sajesh through one of his friends, the amount was allegedly reduced to Rs 1 lakh.

Antro filed a petition against Sajesh with the VACB which laid a trap and arrested him along with his friend Varghese, who allegedly played a middleman's role in the deal.

The VACB said that the accused will be produced before the Vigilance Court, Muvattupuzha on Wednesday.

Last month, the VACB conducted surprise raids at offices of the Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) Ltd, triggering a controversy. The VACB alleged anomalies in the public sector company's deals and chitty schemes. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac then hit out at the VACB. The minister refuted the allegations that the KSFE was not depositing money in the treasury, saying that there was no rule to do so. The Opposition UDF criticised the minister's reaction, saying that he was disturbed by the raids. KSFE's chairman Philipose Thomas however welcomed the raids, adding that various audits including ones by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the firm itself, had been carried out before.

(With PTI inputs)

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