The state education commissioner Suraj Mandhare has sought probe against officials from his own department involved in various malpractices, including bribery cases.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials on Tuesday confirmed the receipt of the letter written by Mandhare in which he stated that officials involved in bribery case must be subjected to an open investigation. Mandhare has named around 40 persons including his colleagues from education department and teachers. The letter was written in January.
Most of these persons against whom Madhare has sought probe have served as education officers in different districts of Maharashtra.
“Many of them have been booked in corruption cases in the past while some have faced inquiries. After initial investigation, these persons have returned to service by managing witnesses to dilute cases. In my letter, I have sought open inquiry against them,” said Mandhare, who was in Delhi.
After initial probe in the past, many of the tainted officials returned to service with even better posting, said Mandhare. An “open” inquiry means that Anti-Corruption Bureau can summon people for recording statements, call for salary and seek details about movable and immovable assets. If the probe finds enough evidence, the ambit of the case expands and an FIR can be registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act or the inquiry can be closed if no evidence of corruption is found.
The ACB Superintendent of Police Amol Tambe confirmed the receipt of the letter saying, “We are investigating the details.”
According to Mandhare, the ACB officials have informed him about probe being started against some officials.
“There has been negative feedback against these 40 officials. I would like ACB to not just restrict it to trap cases and carry out thorough investigation under open inquiry,” said Mandhare.
Earlier last week, state Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested Nashik Municipal Corporation Education officer Sunita Dhangar in a graft case. Dhangar was found taking bribe of ₹50,000 to reinstate suspended teacher. Later, when ACB officials carried out a search operation at her residence, they discovered ₹85 lakh cash and 320-gram gold ornaments.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Dhangar at the Sarkarwada police station of the Nashik police. Following the raid on her home, the ACB checked her bank accounts and found ₹30,16,620 deposited in four separate accounts in different banks.
“Every now and then there have been news reports of corruption cases against those in education field. If the ACB acts against them, there will be a strong message and will eventually help clean up the education department which has sanctity attached to it,” said Mandhare.