Hyderabad: A Whatsapp group was created by the agricultural officer in Bhadradri Kothagudem district with owners of pesticide and fertilizer shops to collect bribes.
According to a report published by news18.com, the officer in question, Mahesh Chander, created the Whatsapp group to demand bribes of Rs 15,000 from the hapless shop owners. He informed them that the money paid would work to ensure that the shops are not at the receiving end of the monthly inspection.
Six shop owners from the group named Kumar, Goda Satyam, Erram Sita Ramulu, Mukesh, Venkat Ramayya, and Chandra Rao approached the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on July 30 and informed the officials about the manner in which they were harassed, said the report fromnews18.com.
The ACB officials asked the victims in question to invite the official under the pretext of offering the money he had asked for. As premeditated, the officials caught Mahesh Chander while he was collecting Rs 90,000 from the complainants.
A case was registered and as the investigation unraveled, it was discovered that the accused officer had set up a fertilizer and pesticide shop in Chandrugonda which sold subsidized goods. The victims stated that the very existence of the shop made it difficult for their business to function. This was also the first time wherein an accused had used a Whatsapp group to collect bribes.
Taking all the facts into consideration, the ACB officials informed higher authorities in the agriculture department about the incident. According to the Deputy Superintendent of Police, ACB, SV Ramana Murty, Mahesh Chander has been working with the agriculture department at Bhadradri Kothagudem District for the last eight years.