Senior IAS Officer Arrested In Rajasthan

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Jaipur: A senior Indian Administrative Services officer was arrested late on Monday in Jaipur, 13 days after the anti-corruption bureau of Rajasthan raided him in connection with a bribery scam worth crores in the National Rural Health Mission or NRHM.

Niraj K Pawan, was allegedly part of a racket run by a middleman called Ajit Soni who through his firm Maple production used to get tenders awarded in the Information and Education Department of the Health Ministry in lieu for bribes.

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These bribes would then be proportionately shared by officers in the department, allegedly among them a Rajasthan Administrative Services or RAS officer who was additional director, a chief accounts officer and a store keeper. The RAS officer Anil Kumar Agrawal was also arrested in the case on Monday.

Mr Pawan, an IAS officer of 2003-batch, is currently posted as commissioner in the Agriculture Department. He was put under APO or ‘awaiting posting orders’ status after the anti-corruption bureau or ACB started questioning him.

He has been arrested after nearly 10 days of sustained interrogation. The ACB claims to have recovered a flash drive which has the break-up of the money that was distributed among the officials in NRHM. ACB sources also said they had evidence that Mr Soni had allegedly given Neeraj K Pawan a scooter and a car.

According to sources, the complaint against the bribery in NRHM was filed by a businessman as a police complaint or an FIR. Sources said the complainant businessman was allegedly part of the racket, but later fell out when the main players started distrusting him.

The complainant received work orders worth Rs. 7 crore over 18 months, for which he paid 17 per cent or Rs. 1.5 crore as “commission”, said ACB sources.

This is the second major move by the ACB after it arrested IAS officer Ashok Singhvi last year in September in a mining scam case. Mr Singhvi was released on bail last month.

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