Gujarat BJP MP admits to paying bribe for fire NOC

Mokariya alleges that prior to assuming his position as a Rajya Sabha MP, he was compelled to pay a bribe of 70 thousand rupees to secure a fire department NOC.
Rajya Sabha MP Rambhai Mokariya
Rajya Sabha MP Rambhai Mokariya

AHMEDABAD: BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ram Mokariya from Rajkot, Gujarat, has stirred controversy with a revelation which has put the ruling government under scrutiny.

Mokariya alleges that prior to assuming his position as a Rajya Sabha MP, he was compelled to pay a bribe of 70 thousand rupees to secure a fire department NOC for one of his properties.

This assertion gains heightened significance following the tragic fire incident at the TRP gaming zone in Rajkot, claiming the lives of 27 individuals. The police FIR indicates that the gaming zone operated without a fire NOC, raising serious concerns about regulatory oversight and public safety.

Rajya Sabha MP Rambhai Mokariya
Rajkot fire tragedy: Another game zone partner held; one accused died in blaze, say police

Ram Mokariya, a Rajya Sabha member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and businessman, revealed in an interview with a Gujarati newspaper in Rajkot that he had to pay a bribe to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) before becoming a Member of Parliament.

Mokariya explained that he had submitted a building plan for a 27,000 square area, near the BJP office in Rajkot. The land had been converted from non-agricultural to residential or commercial use. Initially, he did not have an NOC from the airport, but he eventually obtained it.

Mokariya disclosed to the newspaper that he was coerced into paying a bribe of 70,000 rupees to Fire Officer Theba in order to secure the NOC for his building plan approval. He alleged that corruption is rampant within the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) and the district collector's office, resulting in significant harassment and hindrance to the progress of his project on land valued at 200 crore rupees. Despite the payment, Mokariya's plan faced continued delays in approval. Subsequently, after assuming his position as a Rajya Sabha member, Mokariya reached out to Theba, who then returned the bribe amount of 70,000 rupees through a third party.

After Mokariya's interview was published in the Gujarati daily, local news channels swarmed to his residence seeking clarification. Mokariya emphasized that the incident transpired prior to his tenure as a Rajya Sabha member. However, during his exchange with the media, Mokariya grew visibly agitated and declined to provide further comments. He even went as far as physically pushing a journalist from a local Gujarati TV news channel out of his residence, alleging trespassing on his private property and insisting that "questions should only be asked with his consent."

The Congress seized the opportunity to attack the BJP following allegations made by one of its own MPs against the government.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi stated, "Rajkot Lok Sabha MP Rambhai Mokariya had pay a bribe of 70 thousand rupees in the fire NOC issue. This is further proof that in this government, common public works are done only by giving bribes. This is BJP's model of development, which places corruption at the center."

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