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Forest official arrested on bribery charges

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Srinagar, Dec 28, : Anti-Corruption Bureau caught a forest official while accepting a bribe for processing the bill of the complainant.

The official who was caught has been identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi, Range officer, Kuhihama Forest Division, Bandipora. He had demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 10,000 for processing Bill of the complainant.

ACB said that it received a written complaint against Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi, from a complainant alleging therein that concerned officer is demanding bribe.

The complainant further alleged that he is a contractor and had completed the allotted work for an amount of Rs 3,21,000 and that after completing the said work the forest department has already released two bills in his favour.

However, the final bill to the tune of about Rs one lakh is pending with the said department from last one and half month for which concerned Range Officer Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi put a demand of bribe as his commission of Rs 15,000 for all three bills including already two released bills.

That said amount after negotiations with accused Range officer, was settled on Rs10,000. The complainant arranged money and approached ACB with a complaint requesting for legal action.

On receipt of complaint which prima facie disclosed the commission of offence punishable U/s 7 of the PC Act 1988 (as amended in 2018), accordingly case FIR No. 13/2023 was registered at PS ACB Baramulla and investigation was taken up.

During the course of investigation a trap team was constituted headed by DySP rank officer. The team laid a successful trap and caught the accused public servant namely Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi S/o Late Assadullah Sofi R/o Onagam, Bandipora posted as Range Officer, Kuhihama forest range, Bandipora while demanding and accepting the bribe money of Rs10,000.

The bribe amount was recovered from the possession of the accused in the presence of independent witnesses.

The accused was immediately taken into custody after following due process as laid down under law and searches at his residence were conducted. [Agencies]

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