Two women officials of the District Social Welfare Department were arrested by the the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) for demanding a bribe of Rs 1,500 from a beneficiary of the State government’s inter-caste marriage financial assistance.
Sleuths of the Vellore unit of DVAC caught the officials red-handed when they received the bribe amount on Tuesday afternoon. Later in the day, they were remanded to the Special Prison for Women after being produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Vellore.
According to sources, S Meganathan (30), who belonged to the SC community and a resident of Melathur, married a woman belonging to the BC community two years ago. He applied for the inter-caste marriage financial aid of Rs 25,000 last year.
After the amount was sanctioned, the Rural Welfare Officer (RWO) of Gudiyattam taluk A Manonmani (57) contacted Meganathan over phone on August 10.
She had asked him to bring certain documents along with the marriage photographs for verification. Besides, Manonmani had demanded Rs 1,500 to forward his application.
“Though the applicant produced all the necessary documents on August 11, Manonmani had strictly told him that she will not forward his application to the district social welfare office in the Vellore Collectorate until he gave the money,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police of DVAC, Vellore, M Balasubramanian.
Irked by this, the applicant filed a complaint with the DVAC the next day. Based on the complaint, the police laid a trap for the RWO. Meganathan approached the RWO with phenolphthalein-coated currency notes and handed them over to her as told by the DVAC. However, the officer told the man to give the money to her higher-up A Girija (54), the extension officer of the department.
As soon as Meganathan handed over the notes to Girija, DVAC officials caught both Girija and Manonmani redhanded.
The DVAC filed a case against the two women officials under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and confiscated the currency notes, which were produced in the court as material evidence.