A surprise raid ordered by deputy commissioner Himani Pande on Wednesday laid bare the unholy nexus between district transport officials and petty brokers.
The raid that was conducted by a three-member team of additional district magistrate (law and order) Vijay Kumar Singh, Dhalbhum sub-divisional officer Subodh Kumar and deputy commissioner (land revenue) Lal Mohan Mahto. Sources maintained that the raid was a follow up to a corruption complaint that had been lodged by one Bahujan Samaj Party worker, Mushtaq Qureshi against transport office clerk Ashok Choudhary.
Speaking to The Telegraph later, magistrate Singh said that they raided the transport office around 1.30pm, just as several brokers were trying to flee from the spot in a hurry.
“We suspect that someone must have tipped off the brokers about the impending raid right before we arrived at the spot,” Singh said. He confirmed that their target during the raid was clerk Choudhary.
“We caught hold of one broker and recovered 17 driving licenses, which had been brought for renewal, from his possession. On interrogation the broker revealed that all the licenses were to be renewed by Choudhary,” the additional district magistrate said.
Later, the team drafted a report, containing the details of the raid, against the said clerk and submitted it with the deputy commissioner’s office for proper departmental action. The 17 licenses that had been seized were also submitted along with the report as proof.
Notably, though seizures following complaints of corruption are common in the district transport office, this is the first time that a raiding party has been able to lay its hands on documented evidence. The last raid at the transport office had been conducted on October 13 last year.
The transport office has always been a preferred hunting ground for agents, who often dole out hefty premiums to get licenses renewed.