Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nitish Thakur: The Maha babu who owns two dozen properties, a Land Rover, a Mercedes and more

THE Enforcement Directorate’s Mumbai arm on Wednesday attached properties and bank fixed deposits worth Rs 56 crore in a money laundering case against Nitish Thakur, former deputy collector of Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (Mhada). This is in addition to last year’s ED attachment of assets worth Rs 53.57 crore from this state administrative service officer. Read more about this official who owns  two dozen bungalows and flats in Mumbai, and used to drive a Land Rover and a Mercedes.
1. When Thakur was arrested three years ago, anti-corruption bureau (ACB) listed 26 properties worth over Rs 118 crore as his properties. Those included a bungalow at Gorai, two duplex flats in Vile Parle, 11 flats and four bungalows in Kandivli, Borivli, Andheri, Ghatkopar, Alibaug, Murud, Kolegoan and Chikli.
2. He could amass those properties only after 12 years of government service. He also allegedly bought a Land Rover, Mercedes and Honda CRV, according to ACB officials.
3. Thakur allegedly made money when he was the personal secretary to the state housing minister in 2007. He and his family floated consultancy firms and reportedly collected funds as fees.
4. In March 2012, when an ACB squad reached his duplex flat at Swapnasheel building in Mumbai's Vile Parle for raid, Thakur refused their entry. After three hours of high drama, the main door was broken by the sleuths. In fact, the ACB squad had to use a fabricator to sever iron grilles.
5. The officer was arrested, but he first managed to get bail.
6. Later in April 2013, Bombay High Court rejected his bail plea. And Thakur made a failed attempt to flee the country. He was about to board a flight to Kathmandu when emigration officials stopped him.
7. Finally, read what a Bombay High Court judge had to say about this Maharashtra official. “I find it difficult to believe the story of this enterprising deputy collector and his family in amassing wealth over a hundred crores in a few years, as if his being personal secretary to the housing minister had nothing to do with getting a fat consultancy from a builder for a redevelopment project.”

Like the 2010 episode of 1979 batch IAS couple of Madhya Pradesh, Arvind Joshi and Tinoo Joshi, (I-T sleuths recovered cash worth over Rs 3 crore including 1,000-rupee-notes kept inside pillow covers from them, and papers of land and many properties), Thakur’s brazen attempt to make money while in service is indeed a dark chapter in India’s babudom.

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