Red-tape makes CM ‘sleepless’
Mentor or money-minter?
IAS-IPS officers under Vigilance scanner
Amit Kumar PandeyOne can not precisely say how much a fish drinks living in water. The legendry economist and politician, Chanakya wrote centuries ago. That was the time corruption had not percolated down to the grassroots level and assumed the present dimensions.
Corruption is now a buzz word. Scams are tumbling down one after another, like the houses of cards, at the national level itself. Bihar and Jharkhand seem destined to live and co-exist with corruption. If Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda turned out to be a milestone in corruption, Chief Minister Lalu Prasad had emerged as a torch-bearer for tainted politicians and bureaucrats in Bihar.
Corruption seems to have assumed Himalayan heights in the Nitish Kumar government. The rot has seeped to every wing of administration. ‘Sushan’ (good governance) seems to have been eclipsed by bad elements. Panchayats, supposed be a centre of grassroots planning and development, has become den of corruption. Newspapers have carried random survey reports that suggest that mukhias ride luxury four-wheelers albeit many of them had not even a bicycle before elected to the coveted post. Indira Awas Yojna (home for homeless poor) has become a convenient tool to fleece BPL families. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Manrega) schemes enrich mukhias, panchayat sevaks and BDOs more than the landless labour force.
The irony of the situation is that these maladies have discussed in the Vidhan Sabha and other public for a openly but the government looked pigmy before the rot. Bureaucracy seems to be lording it over the elected representatives. Even Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has confessed that ‘red tape’ is nagging him. He passes ‘sleepless nights’. He rued, “I plan or think something with a timeframe in mind, but something else happens”.
There is, however, nothing to doubt the sincerity of Nitish Kumar and his resolve to fight all pervasive corruption. Besides arousing public awareness through media advertisement and public rhetoric, the NDA government has taken commendable steps in booking crime overlords and bahubalis and holding fast track court trials. The government has also enacted laws to confiscate building and other immovable property, acquired through graft and dubious means.
General people, on the other hand, can not be faulted if they are crying foul over ever growing corruption. Grassroots corruption has maimed their day to day life Mere rhetoric can not rescue them from being sucked in seamless holes, every day; every moment. The taste of pudding lies in eating.
The Nitish Kumar government has taken a commendable step in making ministers and government officials, including IAS and IPS officials, declare their assets. This single stem seems to have opened Pandora’s Box and may give an insight into the wealth amassed by the ‘custodian of public money and planner and executioner of development schemes in the poorest of poor state, Bihar. The state government has itself admitted in the legislature that as many as 24 Indian Police Services (IPS) officers in the state are tainted and are facing various charges. Bihar has around 250 IPS personnel to control crime and monitor law and order situation.
“As many as 24 IPS officials posted in the state were tainted and facing various charges”, state water resources minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary informed the Council. The state government has sought explanation from eight IPS officials, while explanation from nine other IPS officials have been received and are being examined, he said and added once the probe is complete, a report will be sent to the Union Home ministry for necessary action against them.
Meanwhile, several IAS and Bihar cadre officers are said to be currently under Vigilance scanner. Initial inquiry “is already under way against a dozen officers of the all India service and about two dozen officials of the state service”, a senior Vigilance officer said. He said the government has made their task easier by asking all the public servants to submit details of their property.
The officer revealed even some vice chancellors of the universities are in Vigilance net for accumulating huge wealth through fraudulent means. “Some complaints against the officers of the vigilance bureau have also been received and being probed”, he added. The investigation into such IAS, IPS and IFS officers, who have been charged with amassing huge wealth disproportionate to their known source of income, would expedite as details of their properly have already been uploaded on the official website. “There is no need to question these officials right now. Everything has been made public by them and they can not deny it”, the officer said, adding that over two dozen officers of the state service and also some posted with the state corporations were under the surveillance of the two anti-corruption wings of the state government.
The agony of these ‘tainted’ officers does not end here. If any public servant has concealed one’s income and not mentioned about any particular property in the declaration, the responsibility lies with the Income Tax Department to net him or her.
Authoritative sources said that once the preliminary inquiry is complete, the process of initiating criminal proceedings against ‘corrupt’ officials would formally start. “But I doubt the declaration of assets will serve the purpose of the Vigilance department as a large number of the government employees have not presented the real picture”, an investigating officer said.
According to sources in the General Administration department, asset details of 190 IAS officers, 169 IPS officers, 29 Indian Forest officers, 2,800 BPSC officers and 350 Bihar police service officers have already been uploaded. Ten days after majority of the 450,000 government officials, including Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) officers in the state, submitted their assets’ details to the state government, they were uploaded on the government official website.
“As of now, details of the assets of nearly 80,000 government officials are available online, it is first of its kind in the country,” Deepak Kumar, principal secretary of general administration department, said, adding that it would take almost a month’s time to upload details of all the public servants. As part of the state government’s anti-corruption drive, the Vigilance department has already served notice on 18 government officials for initiating confiscation of their property allegedly amassed disproportionate to their known sources of income.
List of the government officials against whom confiscation notices have been served under special courts act is given below. They are Shiva Shankar Verma (IAS), former secretary, Minor Irrigation Department; Druv Narain Choudhary (BAS), former director, Raj Bhasha, Bihar; Narayan Misra (IPS), former DGP, Bihar; Kalika Prasad Sinha (IAS), ex-vice chairman, Patna regional development authority; Yogendra Kumar Jaiswal (BAS), former state drug controller; Naga Ram regional deputy director of education, Purnia; Raghunwansh Kunwar, former motor vehicle inspector, Aurangabad; Om Prakash Singh, former inspector, weights and measurement department, East Champaran Girish Kumar, assistant Patna treasury, Patna collectorate; Anil Kumar, former assistant commissioner, sales taxes, Shahabad circle; Madan Pd. Srivastava, executive engineer, NH division, Chapra; Yogendra Kumar Singh, revenue officer, Gaya Municipal Corporation; Shiv Wkil Pd Yadav, sales tax officer, Sitamarhi; Sanjay Kumar, excise superintendent, Muzaffarpur; Bhola Prasad, divisional forest officer, Kaimur; Shankar Prasad, executive engineer, rural works department, Aurangabad; Kapil Muni Rai, Enforcement sub-inspector, Purnia and Suresh Prasad, district cooperative officer, East Champaran.