Like the rest of the country, Maharashtra has been under lockdown for over two months now. During the two-month lockdown in Maharashtra, police officers have been caught for demanding bribes, according to the data from Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB). During this time, the cops were also found to claim the largest amount of bribe. Twenty-nine cases of traps were registered, and between 24 March and 25 May, 42 people were booked by ACB. Thirteen of them were police officers.
In mid-May, a constable at Talegaon police station in Wardha found a person with liquor stash on him and demanded money not to make a case of Prohibition act. In one more incident, the highway police assistant inspector was booked for demanding money from two motorists.
The official blocked their vehicles at the Urse toll naka for not following the lockdown. He said the cars would be kept until the lockdown ends, however on the off chance if they needed a prompt discharge of their vehicle they should bribe him.
An ACB officer said, "In most instances, policemen have been found asking for bribes from people for letting them off the hook in offences lodged against them."
A subdivision police officer from rural Thane obtained the biggest amount - a sum of Rs 12.5 lakh. This senior official collaborated with three private people for asking cash from a complainant to help him secure bail. They likewise offered to get him released through and through from the offence lodged against him and to help unfreeze his bank accounts.
TOI quoted an ACB officer as saying, "The initial monetary demand made was Rs 50 lakh. But the complainant bargained and brought it down to Rs 12.5 lakh."
Two health department staff from Latur took the lowest bribe sum of Rs 500. The two Samanya Hospital officers in Udgir asked for money to release cheques to fix an ambulance.
Overall, the corruption rate in Maharashtra plunged by 88 per cent in April 2020 compared to April 2019. ACB booked only nine people and recorded only seven trap cases in April 2020. But to the contrary, there were 58 trap cases and 77 people were booked by ACB in April 2019. Skeletal attendance of employees in government departments may be one of the reasons.
The arrest of an administrative officer from Ayurvedic government college and hospital in Nagpur was among the other significant cases recorded during the lockdown. The officer requested a bribe of Rs 2 lakh for the employment of complainant's relative as a conservatory staff member.
Public servants booked during the two-month lockdown were from the Department of Revenue, Forest, Health, Land Records and Public Works Department(PWD). There were as many as eight private individuals - many of whom were engaged in corruption with public servants.