The state assembly was stormed by one name Radheshyam Mopalwar and he is labelled as corrupt IAS officer in the country. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had to remove him from his MSRDC post and that was not for corruption. Interestingly, in the recent past Maharashtra political discourse has been dominated by the talk of the Samruddhi Expressway. The project is being showcased as a game changer by Fadnavis; a highway that can link the backward areas of Vidarbha and Marathwada to developed regions and markets of Thane and Mumbai. But, farmers who will lose land have opposed the project, questioning the nature of acquisition, the credibility of the government and the planning of the project. Still who cares for farmers or landowners when the very own ambition of project is self-centered? This aspiring ₹46,000-crore worth six-lane highway between Mumbai and Nagpur, Fadnavis’ home constituency and the winter capital of the state, is his dream project and he wants it to get off the ground at any cost, even if it means depriving farmers of their fertile land.
Samruddhi has run into several roadblocks from farmers who have opposed on various expanses including in Amravati, Aurangabad and Nashik. It is in the Sinnar and Igatpuri talukas of Nashik district that the opposition has been the severest and the MSRDC, which is the nodal agency to deliver on the project, has been resorting to all sorts of measures with the help of the local administration to trick the farmers into parting with their lands. Fadnavis has gone record by saying that most bureaucrats don’t listen to him but it is now on record that he does not listen to his boss.
Radheshyam Mopalwar is a man Fadnavis totally trusted to deliver the Samruddhi Expressway to him. Mopalwar seemed to be willing to adopt all means, fair or filthy (saam, daam, dand, bhed) in his dealings on Samruddhi and that is why perhaps Fadnavis did not act on complaints of corruption against Mopalwar forwarded to him by the PMO in January this year. Even the Vigilance Division of the Income Tax department has been probing him for disproportionate assets. Some say his wealth is worth Rs 800 crore or more. Even the Union Home Ministry had written to the Maharashtra Director General of Police in December 2016 to investigate Mopalwar who was earlier involved in the multi-crore fake stamp paper racket, popularly known as the Telgi scam, with its chief protagonist Abdul Karim Telgi claiming that Mopalwar knew about the scam from the beginning and was an equal partner in his crime. Yet for six months or more, Fadnavis continued to ignore all warnings against Mopalwar until on Sunday, July 30, he discovered just by accident that the man he trusted to deliver Samruddhi was in fact creating the biggest hurdle in the project.
Despite issuing many alerts, Fadnavis tried to wave off responsibility by lobbying the ball in the Congress’ court for having kept Mopalwar in plum jobs despite his corrupt acts, he had no words to explain why he turned a blind eye to the MSRDC chief’s corrupt acts. Fadnavis knew of the nexus between the bureaucrats and many of his party leaders. A judicial inquiry into Samruddhi will reveal how many IAS officers and BJP leaders knew Samruddhi was coming and how they bought land from farmers along its direction at throwaway prices. The expressway is meant to benefit merely cargo companies and transporters. In such circumstances protecting these corrupt officers is necessary; else the BJP will be systematically exposed. Corruption by bureaucrats is allowed to happen because they are expected to pass on percentages of their collections to their political masters and mentions an exorbitant figure that makes its way to the BJP’s coffers every month. Actually, BJP claims to be a clean party but in reality, let it be any ruling party Congress-BJP or others, they use their officers and contractors as source of additional income. It’s the bureaucrat or the authority who gets caught and labelled but not the master.
BJP should have initiated a probe against Mopalwar before, but Chief Minister was protecting corrupt bureaucrats. This is raising several eyebrows not just about Fadnavis but also Modi’s commitment to clean governance. Why Modi is unable to crack the whip on his own handpicked Chief Minister? It is no secret that corruption at that level and therefore down from that level, has been going on since Independence. We, the citizens, are to blame. We accept whatever work is done by these IAS officials. Almost every officer right from tahsildar, police inspector, sub registrar, secretaries of department help themselves and everyone knows this. One burning example was the “Adarsh” scam in Mumbai. Right from army generals to municipal commissioners, secretaries and three previous chief ministers in Maharashtra government helped the file move in one day and got clearance. In India with the politicians, not even leaves flutter without their approval, wield the real power courts find it convenient to convict the bureaucrats who are only obeying their master’s orders. I have one question to ask the Indian judiciary – if a murder is committed by a “supari” killer but whose planning is did by somebody else, the court gives harsher punishment to the planner rather than the executant. But in case of political interference, the same courts award harsh punishment to the executant rather than the planner. Justice, as is said is really blind.
Anyway, Radheshyam Mopalwar was finally removed as assembly witnessed ruckus and was adjourned twice after the opposition pressed for the ouster of Mehta and Mopalwar. Fadnavis himself has admitted that Mehta did not inform him before transferring development rights. Still, no action has been initiated against him. These are not rare samples, there are many IAS officers and ministers who have been caught in scam time and again.
Let’s read in the next part why Indian bureaucrats are corrupt ……
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