Arthur Crawford

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Arthur Crawford was first Municipal Commissioner and collector of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). Crawford is famous as an able administrator as well as his underhand financial dealings.

Crawford acquired the Agri-Horticulture Society's gardens at Sewri for the purpose of building the European cemetery in 1865. Crawford Market in South Mumbai is named after him. When he took over as Commissioner the water supply was scanty, garbage was piling up and the mortality rate was a high 40 per 1,000. Crawford cleaned the streets, fixed the drains and managed to lower the mortality rate by half from 35,000 to 18,000 over the next two years. However his plans greatly overshot the civic budget and was accused of financial mismanagement after he refused to heed to warnings that the deficit was ever widening. Later it was learned that Crawford accepted bribes from mamlatdars (executive heads of a taluka). This prompted a fierce public debate led by Lokmanya Tilak and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was defended by lawyer Pherozeshah Mehta. The subsequent inquiry found Crawford, (then the Commissioner of Bombay Presidency's Central Division) guilty and was asked to return to London. Perhaps because of this his wife left him.

According to Govid Talwalkar's author of Gopal Krishna Gokhale: His Life and Times, a June 1890 Westminster Review article mentioned that Crawford's illegal funds were transferred to Europe through a French bank. Then, as a decoy he wrote two letters to his brother based...
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