One week ago, IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar was removed as Managing Director of the Maharashtra government undertaking MSRDC over audio clips in which he was supposedly heard fixing a deal for a plot in Mumbai. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced Mopalwar’s removal as Vice-chairman and Managing Director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) pending an inquiry against him. But the opposition has demanded an FIR against him and proceeds with investigations.
“The investigations are going on, however there was no evidence of graft against Mopalwar, still he was being removed from the post till the inquiry gets over, due to persistent demand from the opposition,” said Fadnavis.
“When there is no graft case against the bureaucrat what is the need of FIR. Inquiry in this matter will be completed within a month. The projects being discussed in the clips go back to time when the Congress-NCP government was in power. There is no mention of the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway project, which the IAS officer was overseeing as the MSRDC managing director,” he said.
Earlier BJP MLA Anil Gote had written to several investigating agencies against Mopalwar. An audio clip of a conversation Anil Gote and a Dhule-based BJP worker, in which the duo appears to be discussing money matters. Gote confirmed that the voice in the audio clip belongs to him and that the conversation recorded in it took place. In the clip, Gote is heard telling the BJP worker that Fadnavis has ordered a crime branch probe into the kidnapping of private detective Satish Mangale. Mangale’s family had earlier raised allegations against Mopalwar in this case. Later, Gote is allegedly heard asking the BJP worker to bring “new” currency notes on his way to Nagpur.
Meanwhile to silence the storm Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar asserted that the government would not protect anyone involved in corruption, “We will not protect any corrupt practice or person,” he said.
The opposition parties have been demanding action against the senior official after the audio clips, in which he is heard fixing a deal for a piece of land in suburban Borivali, came to light. The clips remain unverified. The Rs 46,000-crore expressway, also called Samruddhi Mahamarg (prosperity corridor), is being implemented by the MSRDC and is considered a pet project of Fadnavis.
Social and Political Activist OmPrakash Pandey said, “Political bosses appoint IAS officers of their choice on these posts to extract maximum monetary benefit out of it. In this system, IAS officers make deals as per wishes and instruction of his political boss. Whenever the system is exposed IAS officer are made scapegoat and it is happening in this case too. Alibaba is never caught, only his associates are crucified. Mr Minister will enjoy all benefits of deals. In this particular case it is said that State Minister was sharing booty with his Delhi party bosses and hence he will never be touched”
Jayant Patil, NCP group leader said, “I don’t know anything about the case. He was a result oriented officials and used to discharge his duties amicably. A probe needs to carried out whether he has done anything which is against the welfare of citizens. Nowadays media trial is happening and they make allegations against people even before they are proved guilty which is unjustified.”
Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan said, “The Chief Minister must carry out a probe to ascertain the authenticity of audio clip. They should send it to forensic laboratory. Mopalwar was involved in Telgi scam and other scams but no action has been taken against him.”
“It is time such people are prosecuted on a fast track basis and they and their colluders (contractors, politicians) be brought to book. This state has a shameful record of being one of the most corrupt in the world. Nowhere have I seen such pathetic roads,” said Anil Garg, CDM of Sony Entertainment Television.
“BJP government led by Devendra Fadnavis government has zero tolerance for corruption. Mopalwar was suspended immediately after the allegations. Probe has been ordered and necessary actions would be taken on the basis of its findings,” said Suresh Nakua, BJP spokesperson.
“This issue is too old issue. The CM has taken right decision to remove him from this post. Audio clip is not enough to sack him from service or any other action. Government should make separate data of all such officers,” said Anil Galgali, RTI Activist.