Complaints pour in against arrested Palakkad village assistant

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Suresh Kumar, Vigilance officials inspecting suspect's room

Palakkad: Complaints are heaping up against the village field assistant, who was nabbed while allegedly receiving bribe during the Kerala government’s grievance redressal event in Palakkad on Tuesday. The locals alleged that the field assistant of Palakkayam village office V Suresh Kumar had collected bribes by making direct visits to residents in the locality. According to reports, he extracted at least Rs 500 from people who approached the village office for various purposes.

The Kerala Police’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) arrested Suresh Kumar when he received a bribe of Rs 2,500 from Manjeri native Vipin Babu. Though Vipin had already given bribes twice for obtaining a location certificate, Suresh Kumar demanded money again, which prompted Vipin to lodge a complaint with VACB.

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Vigilance has allegedly seized Rs 35 lakh in cash, bank deposits worth Rs 71 lakh and other financial documents during an inspection at the accused's rental accommodation. Though the VACB raided his residence at Ooruttambalam in Thiruvananthapuram, nothing could be recovered.

Several natives who were forced to bribe Suresh Kumar have come forward with complaints after his arrest. An autorickshaw driver claimed that he witnessed the accused collecting bribes by visiting three residences in the locality. The autorickshaw driver alleged that he himself had taken the field officer to these houses. When enquired, the accused told the driver that he was collecting his fee.

A native accused Suresh Kumar of urging him to pay Rs 6,000 for a 'thandaper' certificate, while another paid Rs 2,000 for the same. Similarly several complaints have emerged against the field assistant for allegedly receiving high bribes for arranging ‘pattayam’ for the locals here.

Apart from cash and documents, Vigilance seized 10 litre of honey and Malabar tamarind (‘Kudampuli’) in huge quantities from his room. The team also recovered several new and unused shirts and dhotis from here.

According to the VACB, Suresh Kumar’s salary account is intact as he did not use the amount to meet his expenses. He has a fixed deposit of Rs 46 lakh while Rs 25 lakh is in his savings account. Suresh Kumar has allegedly met his expenses through bribes.

Meanwhile, the Palakkayam village officer Sajith Kumar said that he had no clue regarding the bribes collected by Suresh Kumar. Sajith said that the field assistant’s arrest shocked him as he always wanted to extend help in the works at the village office.

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