Gangtok, October 14: In response to a complaint filed by the property owner, Sonam Chettri, with the Vigilance Department, two engineers, namely Vivek Gurung and Nirmal Baraily, have been apprehended on charges of soliciting bribes.
According to the Vigilance Department, complainant Sonam Chettri had been renting his property in Tadong to the Sikkim Police for use as an outpost for several years. However, Mr. Chettri had previously approached the Superintendent of Police (SP) East Gangtok over a year ago to request an increase in the rental rate. The SP East office subsequently forwarded the request to the Building and Housing Department for a thorough review.
Upon contacting the Building and Housing Department to pursue his request, Mr. Chettri alleges that he was asked for a bribe by two engineers from the planning section in exchange for facilitating the re-accessment process.
Following a written complaint filed with the Vigilance Department, a sting operation was conducted by a team of undercover Vigilance officers. The operation was carried out discreetly on October 13, resulting in the engineers being caught red-handed while accepting Rs 20,000 at a local hotel in Gangtok. Additionally, searches of the residences of both accused individuals were conducted, yielding incriminating documents.
The two engineers now face charges under Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.
The Vigilance Department has called upon the public to report any instances of government officials or servants soliciting bribes. Subsequently, Sonam Chettri, who spoke to the media, revealed that he serves as a Regional Transport Officer (RTO) in the Motor Vehicle Department in Singtam and has a background in the police department.
“I had requested the revision of the rent for my property, which has been leased to the Sikkim Police Tadong outpost. I have been receiving only Rs 7000 per month, and hence, I approached the Superintendent of Police (SP) East a year ago to seek a reassessment and increasing of the rent. Subsequently, the SP’s office forwarded my grievance to the Building and Housing Department, where two engineers demanded a bribe from me. I contacted the Vigilance Department through a written complaint, and as a result, they organized a sting operation this Friday on 13 October to apprehend these corrupt engineers red-handed”