Exactly a month after the Gujarat government, (on February 28), shunted Rajkot Police Commissioner Manoj Agarwal following serious allegations of corruption and extortion levelled by three BJP leaders, another damning charge seems to nail his role in “using his office to further personal gains.”
Following the allegations and subsequent case study in February, Agarwal, a 1991 batch IPS of the Gujarat cadre, was posted at the State Reserve Police Training Institute in Junagadh. His transfer came following a report submitted by senior IPS officer Vikas Sahai, who was asked to conduct an inquiry against him following allegations by the senior functionaries of the ruling party.
Moreover, police inspector Gadhvi, and sub-inspector Sankhala, who was part of Agarwal’s core team in Rajkot, stood suspended. A month later on March 31, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), tabled its detailed inquiry against them.
The case dates back to January when Rajkot BJP legislator and former minister Govind Patel wrote a letter to junior Home minister Harsh Sanghvi accusing Agarwal of widespread and “rampant corruption and extortion” in settling disputed land-related matters in the city.
In his letter, Mr. Patel gave details of a few cases in which the police commissioner had allegedly taken “commission” in fraud and cheating or payment cases. Subsequently, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Rambhai Mokaria and state minister Arvind Raiyani also joined in accusing the top police official of corruption and running an “extortion racket” in the city.
Stunned by the allegations by the ruling party leaders, the state government was forced to order an inquiry against Mr. Agarwal.
Sahai, who was tasked with conducting the inquiry, submitted his report to the State Home Department last week. According to sources from Rajkot, Mr. Agarwal, a Vijay Rupani era appointee, used to take interest in settling land-related matters or disputed or litigated land matters allegedly by taking money.
“Rajkot Police crime branch had become an extortion gang in the city. With blessings of the Commissioner, PI and PSIs literally extorted money,” the BJP leader had alleged.
Interestingly, Agarwal is known to be close to former CM Vijaybhai Rupani, who is also incidentally facing serious corruption charges in land-related cases.