Exclusive: Maha CM Fadnavis appoints dead official to plum Excise Department post

For the past two weeks, people of Nashik and the officials in the Excise Department are waiting for Sandip Maruti Sabale to arrive and take up his post in the flying squad in Satana. An official order issued earlier this month had transferred Sabale from Kolhapur to Nashik. What no one seemed to have known is that Sabale passed away in 2013.

 Exclusive: Maha CM Fadnavis appoints dead official to plum Excise Department post

Sandip Maruti Sabale.

On 3 July, 2016, the Excise Department promulgated a one-page order transferring Excise Inspector Sandip Maruti Sabale from Daulat Sahakari Sugar Factory in Kolhapur to a flying squad in Satana, Nashik district and it was signed by Joint Commissioner (administration) Tanuja Dandekar. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was in charge of the Excise Department for a month after Eknath Khadse resigned, approved the transfer.

But official documents, including a death certificate, available with Firstpost show that Sabale passed away in a road accident on 26 July, 2013, at the age of 30. Since then, his wife Varsha has been running from pillar to post so that she can get a job in the Excise Department, according to government rules.

SM Sable's death certificate

Instead of solving Varsha's problem, the Excise Department issued Sabale's transfer papers. In the order dated 3 July, 2016, it stated that the Kolhapur excise superintendent will have to relieve Sabale with immediate effect and that the Nashik excise superintendent has been asked to ensure that Sabale will take up his new assignment without any delay. "If Sabale brings pressure, it will be considered as indiscipline," the order signed by Dandekar said. It also stated that if he did not join on time, he will not be paid his salary after 30 June, 2016.


Letter transferring SM Sabale to Nashik

Talking to Firstpost from Satara, Sabale’s wife Varsha said that in the three years since Sabale's death in a road accident, she has reached out to several departments for a job but is yet to get any decision. She has two children and none of the other family members are employed. "It's horrible to walk to every department to get a job. In the past three years, we lost everything. We are now financially very weak," she added.

Varsha Sabale's letter to excise commissioner

The much-beleaguered Excise Department has faced several accusations of corruption and malpractice. Recently, three officials caught red-handed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2015 were not only reinstated, but given plum assignments. Corruption allegations even led to Excise Minister Eknath Khadse putting in his papers on 4 June, 2016. After the cabinet reshuffle of 8 July, 2016, Chandrashekhar Bawankule took over as excise minister. Sources said that before Bawankule's appointment, CM Fadnavis smartly approved the transfers of 220 inspectors and senior inspectors — 180 of whom are police sub-inspectors and the rest are higher officials — during the transit period on the advice of State Excise Commissioner Vijay Singhal and Principal Secretary Rajesh Kumar. Sabale's order was issued on 3 July, five days before the excise portfolio was handed over to Bawankule.

It has been two weeks since the order was issued and the confusion is yet to be cleared. Officials in Nashik are unaware of Sabale's passing and told Firstpost that they are still waiting for him. The post Sabale was appointed to is currently vacant as his predecessor was transferred elsewhere. Singhal said he will verify if a transfer order has been issued in the name of a dead official. "I will check with the administration," Singhal told to Firstpost.

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Updated Date: Jul 18, 2016 21:28:35 IST