Pradeep Ramchandani and Prakash Makhija

IN circumstances, that can at best be called a suspicious coincidence, strange events took place in Ulhasnagar. In last few days, the video of BJP councillor stealing the file from Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) went viral and created an uproar all over the city.

On 12 May 2018, Central Police, undres pressure from higher authorities, arrested Pradeep Ramchandani for stealing a file from Public Works Department (PWD) headquarters in Ulhasnagar. On Sunday, 13 May 2018, court awarded Ramchandani in police custody till 16 May 2018. Sources say that police recovered the stolen file from Ramchandani’s son Rohit’s office. Other crucial documents belonging to the UMC have been said to be recovered as well.

Pradeep Ramchandani celebrated his birthday on 11 May 2018. Leaders, builders, journalists and contractors wished him on this day. A certain, Prakash Makhija, also celebrated and wished Ramchandani. This was just a day after Pradeep Ramchandani stole the file from UMC. Prakash Makhija has also been accused for stealing file from UMC headquarters.

On December 13, 2016 ABI (Akela Bureau of Investigation) published an article under headline “BJP leader Prakash Makhija steals sewerage project file from Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation” Prakash Makhija is BJP state committee member and BJP corporator Jaya Makhija’s husband. On December 5, 2016, then UMC Commissioner Rajendra Nimbalkar demanded the ‘Amrut Bhuyari Gatar Yojana’ file. The water supply department peon, Sanjay Patil, told him that last year Prakash Makhija had come to the department and taken the file away.

An inquiry was initiated into the matter, just for formality, and no action was taken against any of the accused. Prakash Makhija’s wife Jaya was the Standing Committee Chairman at that time and Prakash Makhija is also a very influential person in Ulhasnagar. Therefore no action was ever undertaken against him out of sheer fear. This time however, Ramchandani was unlucky as his act of stealing was clearly captured on a CCTV camera.

On May 10, 2018 Ramchandani entered PWD office, retrieved a file from cupboard and hid it inside his shirt. The video of this incident  has gone viral on social media. Therefore UMC was under no option but to register a courtesy FIR against Ramchandani under section 380 of the IPC.

Ramchandani, a co-opted councilor from BJP, controversial personality is also civic contractor. Ramchandani had stolen a file about a new contract, worth Rs 10 lakh, for garden repairing for which his son’s firm had applied. M/s A M Ramchadani, a firm run by his son Rohit and mother Maya, have won several contracts in Ulhasnagar in the past 10 years.

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