Former IAS officer Uttam Khobragade accused Maharashtra CIC, Ratnakar Gaikwad, of indulging in corruption during his past bureaucratic postings and playing a key role in demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan here, and demanded that he be arrested and removed from the post immediately.
However, the state Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), has squarely refuted Khobragade’s charges.
Addressing a press conference, Khobragade said, “I have made inquiries into Gaikwad’s past and has found that he misused his office, especially during his posting as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority Commissioner. He handed over 40,470 sq meter of government land in Akurli village near Kandivali to a private builder, which caused a loss of Rs 1,000 crore to the exchequer.”
Khobragade, former Maharashtra Principal Secretary, also claimed that he has a list of Gaikwad’s “murky deals” with the builders.
He said he has approached the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the state police to investigate the irregularities and book the “corrupt” official.
“I have filed complaints with the ACB and state DGP as well as with the Governor and urged them to carry out a probe. Gaikwad should be immediately removed from the post of CIC and arrested at the earliest,” Khobragade said.
“The way Gaikwad played a prime role in the demolition of the Ambedkar Bhawan and hurt the sentiments of followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar, he has no moral right to occupy the post,” he said.
Gaikwad rubbished the charges saying Khobragade was venting out his personal vendetta and frustration against him.
“My record (as IAS officer) has been absolutely unblemished for the last 40 years and my all CRs (confidential reports) have been outstanding. I have never been involved in any case and there is not even a single inquiry against me. He went to High Court and CAT against me and everywhere he was shown the door,” Gaikwad said.
The Ambedkar Bhavan and the Buddha Bhushan printing press started by Babasaheb Ambedkar at Dadar in central Mumbai were demolished by People’s Improvement Trust (PIT) in June, claiming it was dilapidated and a grand Ambedkar Bhavan would come up in its place. Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, had filed an FIR against Gaikwad, trustee of the PIT.