Pune: Judge of Wadgaon Maval court arrested by ACB in corruption case

On January 13 this year, ACB had arrested one Shubhavari Gaikwad (29) for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2.5 lakh from one Swapnil Shevkar on assurances of “managing” the Wadgaon Maval court.

The state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has arrested Archana Jatkar, judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) at Wadgaon Maval court in Pune, in connection with a corruption case about “managing” a case pending before the court.

On January 13 this year, ACB had arrested one Shubhavari Gaikwad (29) for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2.5 lakh from one Swapnil Shevkar on assurances of “managing” the Wadgaon Maval court.

A resident of Wadgaon Maval, Shevkar is a farmer and also an office-bearer of a milk collection centre. According to the ACB, Shevkar had a case pending against him in the Wadgaon Maval court. Gaikwad allegedly approached him pretending to be a court staffer, ‘Mhatre madam’, and demanded Rs 2.5 lakh, assuring that she would “manage” the court and get a judgment in his favour.

However, Shevkar filed a complaint with the ACB’s Pune office. ACB sleuths then a trap and nabbed Gaikwad while she was accepting bribe of Rs 50,000, comprising dummy notes. During investigation, JMFC Archana Jatkar came under the scanner of the ACB for her alleged links with Gaikwad.

When ACB procured Jatkar’s call detail records, it revealed over 140 phone calls between her, Gaikwad and the complainant. Jatkar then moved court seeking anticipatory bail, but her pleas were rejected by the sessions court in Pune and the Bombay High Court.

Meanwhile, ACB arrested one Sushant Baban Kenjale of Ravet on March 10 and suspended police inspector Bhanudas Jadhav on March 22 over their alleged roles in thecase.

MFC Jatkar surrendered before the special court on Thursday, after which she was arrested by the ACB team. ACB’s lawyer Vilas Ghogare Patil sought Jatkar’s custody for six days for further investigation. Special Judge S R Navandar has remanded Jatkar to ACB’s custody till April 5.

Ghogare Patil told the court that phone calls between Jatkar and the accused need to be investigated. Jatkar had also allegedly made 18 calls to suspended police inspector Jadhav and four calls to accused Kenjale.

Jadhav had earlier been convicted in connection with a drug seizure case in 2011. He finished his six-month jail term and later joined duty again. He was arrested in 2019 for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from an accused in a cheating case lodged at Chakan police station. He has been under suspension since then.

Meanwhile, Ghogare Patil told the court that Jatkar’s mobile phone used for the alleged crime needs to be seized and her voice samples collected for investigation.

The ACB probe has also revealed that Jatkar was allegedly using a SIM card in the name of one Samta Kubde from Mumbai for making calls to the accused. Probe revealed that Kubde had allegedly given two SIM cards to Jatkar.

Meanwhile, according to ACB, along with Shevkar, Gaikwad had approached about seven to eight persons by assuring them about a favourable court judgment in their favour. The ACB has found that all of them had land dispute cases pending before JMFC Jatkar.

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ACB is probing whether Jatkar accepted any money from any petitioners or respondents in the court cases through Gaikwad.

Accused names one more judge

As per the submissions made by ACB before the special court while seeking custody of JFMC Jatkar in the corruption case, Shubhavari Gaikwad has named two more persons, including a judge and one Ajay Gopinathan. The ACB has named Ajay Gopinathan as a wanted accused in the case.

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