Mumbai: Popular television host and comedian Kapil Sharma caused quite a stir with his tweet on Thursday claiming that he was asked to pay a bribe of ₹ 5 lakh by an employee of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) “for making his office".
“I am paying 15 cr income tax from last 5 year n still I have to pay 5 lacs bribe to BMC office to make my office," Sharma said in a tweet on Thursday evening tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the next tweet, Sharma again tagged the prime minister and asked “yeh hain aapke achche din" (These are your good days?). Three hours after Sharma’s angry outbursts, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted a reply to the comedian asking him to provide all information. “Have directed MC (municipal commissioner), BMC, to take strictest action. We will not spare the culprit," Fadnavis tweeted tagging Sharma and Modi.
Speaking to reporters, BMC’s chief engineer, vigilance, Manohar Pawar, said he had written a letter to Sharma asking for details. “The BMC has taken note of your complaint and we assure you that we will thoroughly investigate the matter and take serious action against the concerned. To enable us to take this action, you are requested to share the name of the concerned who have demanded the bribe," the letter says.
The letter also asks Sharma to provide details about the case and gives him the option to keep any disclosures that he makes confidential.
Prime Minister Modi also tweeted a reply to Sharma asking him to provide the details and promising action within 24 hours.
The BMC, India’s richest civic body, is ruled by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party combine. The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party were quick to react on the raging controversy.
Legislator and NCP’s Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir said the chief minister promptly assured action since it was a celebrity like Sharma who raised the complaint. “The chief minister is promising achche din to celebrities but when will achche din come for common people? What about those who cannot tweet like Sharma but who still face problems of corruption and lack of basic civic services each day? Will the CM take note of their complaints too?" said Ahir. Congress legislator Nitesh Rane tweeted that there are many Kapil Sharmas in Mumbai who face similar problems each day.
A Mumbai BJP legislator, who did not wish to be named, questioned Sharma’s “approach". “Does he not know that the prime minister of India does not run the BMC and is not directly responsible for each of the BMC employees? And why did Sharma not go to the police or anti-corruption bureau soon after instead of tweeting about it," the legislator said.
He, however, pointed out that Fadnavis had taken prompt note of the complaint.
The Shiv Sena, which has 75 members in the 227-member BMC, is facing a stiff challenge to its two-decade rule at the civic body not only from the Congress and the NCP but also from its ally BJP.
Corruption in civic contracts for road construction has emerged as one of the major issues against the Sena and Fadnavis, who holds the urban development portfolio. The chief minister has already ordered a thorough probe into the road scam.