The coronavirus-induced lockdown, which has severely affected functioning of government and semi -government departments, has led to a significant drop in cases of bribe in Maharashtra, reflected in low number of traps set up by the ACB in the last one-and-a-half months.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Maharashtra, registered just seven cases of trap in April and only five in the current month (till May 14) at its various units, an official said.
Trap means nabbing a public servant for demanding and accepting illegal gratification like bribe. To prevent corruption, a trap is laid by anti-graft agencies to apprehend public servants (and their private collaborators) while demanding and accepting bribe.
Last year in April, there were 58 bribe cases in which 77 accused persons were involved, whereas in May there were 32 such cases involving 41 accused, he said.
As compared to those two months in 2019, the drop in April 2020 was 88 per cent and in May around 84 per cent till date.
The coronavirus-triggered lockdown came into force in Maharashtra in end-March.
Since January this year, the ACB has laid 211 traps across the state in which more than 290 government officials and private persons were nabbed, the official said.
Last year, there were 326 such cases in the state in which around 430 persons were apprehended, he said.
Overall drop in these cases since January was more than 35 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, he said.
There was only one trap case at Vadgaon in Pune, which related to the lockdown.
A 31-year-old Assistant Police Inspector, Satyajit Adhatrao, posted with the state highway police, was caught while allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 15,000 from two persons on April 30 at Urse Toll Plaza to release their vehicles, he said.
The officer had intercepted two vehicles during the lockdown and demanded bribe to release them, he said.
As migrant workers move out of Maharashtra in private and hired vehicles in large numbers, the highway police has warned its staffers against collecting any money from them.
According to an order, if any official is found collecting money from these vehicle operators, he or she will be dismissed from service.