Prosecutor says man charged in school theft was acting `bizarre'

October 01, 2004|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

During a bail hearing yesterday for a man charged with stealing money from Baltimore's school system, a prosecutor argued that the defendant had been acting "bizarre" - threatening witnesses, and walking around wearing a bulletproof vest and a holster.

Circuit Judge Althea M. Handy lowered the bail of Rajiv Dixit, 52, a former maintenance manager for the school system, from $1 million to $150,000 but she set several conditions on the bail, including that Dixit may not have contact with any witness in the case, the prosecutors' office or the school system.

Dixit was required to turn over his bulletproof vest and his passport. Handy told him he cannot go on a trip he had planned in two weeks to India.

Assistant state prosecutor Steven Trostle told the judge that Dixit had been intimidating witnesses.

"Mr. Dixit told one witness, `You better watch your back,' after instructing him not to cooperate with us," Trostle said. "He told another, `I should - or could - kill you.'"

Dixit's lawyer, Richard Karceski, told the judge he does not believe his client had a gun.

A Baltimore grand jury indicted Dixit and two other men this week on charges that they conspired to defraud the school system of more than $290,000 during a five-year period.

Dixit is accused of embezzling more than $150,000 and helping a contractor steal more than $140,000 between 1999 and last year, according to the indictment. Charges against him include conspiracy, theft, accepting a bribe, extortion and embezzlement.

Also charged were Melvin Duklewski, 80, of Baltimore and his son, James Duklewski, 55, of New Oxford, Pa. A Nov. 9 arraignment has been set for the three men.

Dixit, a Baltimore resident, left his job with the system March 28 last year after more than 20 years.

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