The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has apprehended a forester red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe in the Budugam Tulail area of north Kashmir’s Gurez valley in Bandipora district.
Quoting a top ACB official, news agency GNS reported that Mohd Sultan Bhat, the Incharge Block Forester of Budugam Tulail and son of Ab Jabbar Bhat from Ayatmulla Bandipora, was arrested after being caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 from a contractor.
He said, the contractor was involved in executing work in the remote area of Bandipora district under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) scheme of the Government of India. The contractor had been facing obstacles due to the lack of forest clearance. The JJM scheme aims to provide safe and sufficient drinking water to rural households across India by 2024 and is currently being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir as well.
The ACB swiftly launched an investigation upon receiving a complaint regarding Bhat’s corrupt activities. Acting on the information, ACB officials conducted a successful trap operation, catching Bhat in the act of accepting the bribe. Bhat has been taken into custody.
ACB officials commended the contractor for their courage in reporting the bribery incident and reaffirmed their commitment to combating corruption and ensuring transparency in public services. The arrested forester will be presented before the court, and appropriate legal action will be taken against him.
The ACB urged citizens to remain vigilant and report any instances of corruption, assuring them that such complaints would be dealt with swiftly and firmly. The bureau’s ongoing efforts to eliminate corruption and foster a corruption-free environment in Jammu and Kashmir are gaining momentum.