Gujarat ACB Seizes Unaccounted Gold, Cash in DA Case Against Rajkot Suspended Town Planner

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Gujarat ACB Seizes Unaccounted Gold, Cash in DA Case Against Rajkot Suspended Town Planner

| Updated: July 2, 2024 17:02

The Gujarat Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has made a significant seizure in connection with a case of disproportionate assets (DA) against the suspended Rajkot town planner, MD Sagathiya. ACB officers confiscated 22 kg of gold, valued at approximately Rs 16 crore, and Rs 3 crore in cash from his brother’s office in the city.

Sagathiya was arrested by the ACB and presented in court on Monday. This development follows his six-day remand, which concluded on June 24, related to a separate forgery case registered by the Rajkot Crime Branch. The ACB obtained a transfer warrant for Sagathiya and sought further remand. Shortly after his court appearance, the ACB conducted searches at his brother Dilip Sagathiya’s office in Twin Star, a high-end commercial hub near Nana Mava Chow on Ring Road.

A senior ACB officer explained, “When we produced Sagathiya, we also informed the court that we had recorded the statement of MD Sagathiya’s brother, Dilip Sagathiya. Although Dilip is not currently an accused in the case, he consented to open his office for investigation.”

Dilip Sagathiya, who claims to be a farmer by occupation, assisted in opening the biometric lock of the office once the court permitted the investigation.

MD Sagathiya’s initial arrest occurred on May 30 by a special investigation team (SIT) of Rajkot city police. He faced allegations of negligence that led to a fatal blaze at TRP Game Zone, resulting in 27 deaths. The SIT’s probe revealed that Sagathiya was aware of the gaming zone complex operating without proper clearance from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation’s town planning department, which he headed. However, no action was taken against the gaming zone, ultimately contributing to the tragic fire incident.

On June 19, the ACB booked Sagathiya for allegedly owning DAs worth Rs 10.55 crores. The DA case stemmed from ACB searches at his office in RMC headquarters and his residence on May 30, following the fire incident.

The ACB also conducted simultaneous searches at the office and residence of Bhikha Theba, deputy chief fire officer of Rajkot. Theba was arrested by the ACB for allegedly possessing DAs worth 79.94 lakh.

Additionally, the Rajkot Crime Branch filed a separate offence against Sagathiya on June 8, accusing him of forging a minutes book in his office on May 27. The falsified records were used as his defense in the aftermath of the fire. After a 12-day SIT remand that ended on June 12, the Rajkot Crime Branch arrested him again on June 17, securing his second remand until June 24.

The SIT has arrested a total of 15 individuals in connection with the TRP Game Zone fire. Among them are eight RMC officers, including Sagathiya, Theba, and Rajkot’s chief fire officer Ilesh Kher. The group also includes five owners of TRP Game Zone, a manager from the gaming zone, and a welder hired to fabricate a new shed for adding a snow park to the facility. Theba faces additional charges related to DA possession.

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