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Arrest Gaikwad for graft, Ambedkar Bhavan razing: Khobragade

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Mumbai, Aug 19 (PTI) Former IAS officer Uttam Khobragadetoday accused Maharashtra CIC, Ratnakar Gaikwad, of indulgingin corruption during his past bureaucratic postings andplaying a key role in demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan here, anddemanded that he be arrested and removed from the postimmediately. However, the state Chief Information Commissioner (CIC),has squarely refuted Khobragade’s charges. Addressing a press conference, Khobragade said, "I havemade inquiries into Gaikwad’s past and has found that hemisused his office, especially during his posting as MumbaiMetropolitan Region Development Authority Commissioner. Hehanded over 40,470 sq meter of government land in Akurlivillage near Kandivali to a private builder, which caused aloss of Rs 1,000 crore to the exchequer." Khobragade, former Maharashtra Principal Secretary, alsoclaimed that he has a list of Gaikwad’s "murky deals" with thebuilders. He said he has approached the Anti-Corruption Bureau(ACB) and the state police to investigate the irregularitiesand book the "corrupt" official. "I have filed complaints with the ACB and state DGP aswell as with the Governor and urged them to carry out a probe.Gaikwad should be immediately removed from the post of CIC andarrested at the earliest," Khobragade said. "The way Gaikwad played a prime role in the demolition ofthe Ambedkar Bhawan and hurt the sentiments of followers ofBabasaheb Ambedkar, he has no moral right to occupy the post,"he said. Gaikwad rubbished the charges saying Khobragade wasventing out his personal vendetta and frustration against him. "My record (as IAS officer) has been absolutelyunblemished for the last 40 years and my all CRs (confidentialreports) have been outstanding. I have never been involved inany case and there is not even a single inquiry against me. Hewent to High Court and CAT against me and everywhere he wasshown the door," Gaikwad said. The Ambedkar Bhavan and the Buddha Bhushan printing pressstarted by Babasaheb Ambedkar at Dadar in central Mumbai weredemolished by People’s Improvement Trust (PIT) in June,claiming it was dilapidated and a grand Ambedkar Bhavan wouldcome up in its place. Prakash Ambedkar, grandson ofDr Babasaheb Ambedkar, had filed an FIR against Gaikwad,trustee of the PIT. PTI APM NPSRYJMF

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