Congress MLA Parsotam Sabariya was Sunday arrested for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe from persons accused in an irrigation scam in Morbi district, over 60 kilometres from Rajkot, a senior official said.
Dhrangadhra MLA Sabariya was arrested by Morbi A Division police for allegedly accepting money through a middleman from some accused in the irrigation scam in return for not raising the issue in the Assembly and with the state government, said Morbi Superintendent of Police Karanraj Vaghela.
An executive engineer in the Irrigation department, C D Kanani, and three other officials were earlier arrested in connection with a scam pertaining to construction and repair of check dams, digging of ponds and repair and restoration of percolation tanks in villages in Morbi district.
"MLA Parsotam Sabariya had demanded Rs 40 lakh for not raising the issue in the Assembly or before the government. He had settled for Rs 35 lakh, out of which Rs 10 lakh was given to him through a middleman. Another Rs 25 lakh was given to the middleman in the form of a cheque," Mr Vaghela said.
Inspector R J Chaudhary of Morbi A Division police station said that Mr Kanani and others had allegedly offered money to the MLA through a middleman.
Mr Chaudhary said the alleged middleman, identified as Bharat Vakil, was also arrested Sunday and based on the latter's statement, Mr Sabariya was arrested.
According to police, 334 minor irrigation projects worth Rs 20.3 crore were approved by the Gujarat government in villages in Morbi district for previous and current financial years.
Projects worth Rs 10 crore were completed and the probe underway is in connection with the implementation of these projects by village-level co-operative societies, police said.
According to police, 27 such village-level societies are under the scanner after it was revealed that the works had either not been carried out or were of poor quality.
Morbi SP Vaghela said that the state government, after receiving complaints, had launched an investigation into the irrigation projects which revealed irregularities and mismanagement of Rs 1.12 crore in 51 such projects.