Had to pay Rs. 70,000 bribe to RMC Fire Officer for NOC when I was not RS MP: Ram Mokariya

Rajkot: Rajya Sabha member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and outspoken businessman who owns Maruti Courier company, Ram Mokariya, told a Gujarati newspaper in an exclusive interview in Rajkot that he had to pay a bribe to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) when he was not a Member of Parliament.

Mokariya said he had submitted a building plan for a 27,000 square var area in survey number 105 near the BJP office in Rajkot. The land was converted from non-agricultural to residential or commercial use. Initially, Mokariya did not have an NOC from the airport, but later he received it.

He stated that he had to pay a Rs. 70,000 bribe to the fire officer, Theba, for the NOC so that the plan could be approved. Mokariya claimed that no one in the RMC or the district collector’s office is free from corruption. All cause harassment. They attempted to obstruct the progress of a project on land worth Rs. 200 crore. Furthermore, Mokariya mentioned that his plan still did not pass even after he paid Rs. 70,000 to Fire Officer Theba. Later, when he became a Rajya Sabha member, he called Theba, after which Theba sent Rs. 70,000 in a cover back to Mokariya via a third person.

After Mokariya’s interview was published in a Gujarati daily, local news channels rushed to his residence. Mokariya stated that the matter was old and dated back to a time when he was not a Rajya Sabha member. While speaking to the media, Mokariya became angry and refused to comment. He even pushed a TV journalist out of his residence and alleged illegal trespassing on his private property.

While speaking to a TV channel, Mokariya also questioned why the media hadn’t reported on the illegal operation of the TRP game zone for years. He added that despite his poor health and recent hospitalization, he had rushed to the site of the TRP game zone fire tragedy and stayed there the entire night.

Since the Rajkot TRP zone fire tragedy, local TV journalists have been targeting local BJP leaders, mainly Ramesh Tilala(who smiled at camera whiles peaking to media persons at the spot of fire tragedy) Parshottam Rupala(who was not found visible and active enough after the fire tragedy), Ram Mokariya, and the city Mayor(who remained mum when media asked repeatedly about lapses including water connection to game zone wihtout fire NOC). The local BJP unit had called a press conference last evening to announce that the party’s upcoming victory in the Lok Sabha elections would not be celebrated by the city unit due to the fire tragedy. However, during the question round, media personnel made allegations against the party in connection with the fire tragedy. The misguided press conference was soon concluded. The media personnel then chased the city Mayor with questions until she left on her two-wheeler parked outside the press conference venue.