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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Education dept seeks bribes to clear salary hikes

MUMBAI: The secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), Fr Gregory Lobo, has gone on record on the bribes that are being charged by
education department officials in Mumbai. The Catholic church runs 150 schools across the city.

“With the new Sixth Pay Commission salaries in place for teachers, the clerical staff at our schools have worked overtime to get all the necessary paper work in place so that teachers get the revised salaries. However, they needed to get the papers stamped and signed by the education department, for which the department auditor for South Mumbai asked for a bribe of Rs 300 per teacher, which works out to around Rs 30,000 a school,’’ Fr Lobo said, adding he had got many such complaints.

He said the schools had shouldered the entire administrative load. The education department only had to stamp the documents.

“The staff at our schools are afraid to go on record about this as they feel they will be harassed. But I have no problem doing so. I will bear the consequences,’’ Fr Lobo, a 70-year-old priest who has been at the helm of the ABE for the last 10 years, said. Previously, he has been the principal of ABE schools for 20 years.

TOI contacted V K Wankhede, Mumbai’s deputy director of education, over the matter and he acknowledged he had just received a couple of letters from schools complaining about the issue.

Wankhede then called the education department auditor for South Mumbai, Prabhakar Sawant, to his office to inquire into the matter. Sawant swore that no such incident had occurred. “Mein kasam khata hoon ki aisa kuchh nahin hua (I swear that nothing like that has happened),’’ he said, speaking to TOI over the phone

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