Arrest shows rotten Gujarat Pollution Board

Vol 20, PW 14 (06 Apr 17) People & Policy

For many years oil company operators and others always suspected the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) was rotten to the core.

Sadly those suspicions have proved correct following the arrest of a high-ranking GPCB officer on charges of corruption. On March 22, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officers arrested Girjashankar Sadhu, a GPCB regional officer at the Godhra office in eastern Gujarat.

First investigations reveal Sadhu owns a huge farm-house with swimming pool and bungalows in Kosamba near Surat in south Gujarat and another in Bhuj in Kutch. Add to that a house on the posh Drive-in Road in Ahmedabad and a petrol station.

"None of us could believe this farmhouse with a swimming pool was owned by a Gujarat government officer!" an investigating officer tells Petrowatch. "We all thought it belonged to a film-star or industrialist." As a high rank 'Class-I' officer Sadhu's arrest is even more shocking.

"It shows the rot that has set in," adds another source. Sadhu was caught on tape receiving a bribe of Rs1.2 lakh ($1850) cash from KBM Polymers, a factory based at Halol, in exchange for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to set up a de-mineralised water plant.

Sadhu allegedly visited the plant and summoned the owners to Gandhinagar to demand the bribe in person over a cup of tea and biscuits. KBM management immediately approached the ACB office in Ahmedabad which set a trap for Sadhu.

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