VELLORE: Sleuths attached to the Vellore unit of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on Wednesday caught a Village Administrative Officer (VAO) red-handed accepting a bribe of `20,000 for releasing a tractor that was allegedly seized on the charge that it had been used in illegal sand mining operations.
The arrest was based on a complaint filed by S. Sasikumar of Chikkidikuppam village. In his complaint, Sasikumar said that S Srinivasan, VAO of Lalapet and in-charge of Balleri village had confiscated his tractor on July 10 when he was returning home from a brick kiln. The VAO charged him with using the vehicle for illegal sand mining in Somanathapuram.
Srinivasan, after confiscating the tractor parked it at the Revenue Divisional Officer, Murugesan’s office without his knowledge and did not initiate measures to book a case against Sasikumar. When Sasikumar requested Srinivasan to release the vehicle, Srinivasan initially demanded a bribe of `30,700, which was reduced to `25,000 and later brought down further to `20,000.
Sasikumar lodged a complaint with the DVAC. DVAC officials directed Sasikumar to hand over chemical-coated currency notes to Srinivasan in a cycle-shop opposite Muthukadai bus-stand near Ranipet at about 4.30 pm.
DVAC personnel led by ADSP of the unit M Balasubramanian and Investigation Officer of the case, E Thirunavukarasu nabbed the VAO red-handed in the presence of two official witnesses. A case has been registered under Prevention of Corruption Act. Srinivasan and lodged in the Vellore Central Prison.