Who wants corruption free India? By Joginder SinghThere is some magic in wealth which makes, even well off people to do theunthinkable for amassing it. How strange it is, that a fool or knave, withriches, should be treated with more respect by the world than a good man or awise man in poverty.Unfortunately, this state of affairs has made, corruption and scams, easy inour country, A large number of people, in the position of authority, neverloose an opportunity to encash their power.The more corrupt are caught, the more such people take their place.. It is amultiplication going on both sides.Apart from the politicians, Government officials, who are in a position todisburse favour have been caught by the Anti Corruption Agencies.Deceased Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy‟s populist schemes kepthim comfortably in power from 2004 to his sudden death five years later, but they were alsoconduits for massive corruption, US consul general David Hopper, then based in Chennai,wrote in a confidential cable newly released by WikiLeaks.Hopper‟s damaging cable comes on the back of a CBI inquiry into the wealth amassed byReddy‟s businessman-politician son, Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who is the leaderof the YSR Congress Party. Last month, the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered a widerCBI probe into alleged kickbacks Jaganmohan Reddy received from some 30 companies,including Emaar Properties, Ramky Infrastructure and Pennar Aluminum for sweetheartdeals he wrangled for them from his father‟s government.The cable says Reddy’s big-ticket social programmes to do with irrigation and building houses for the poor weremired in nepotism, shadiness and profiteering. Screen grab from ibnlive.comCorporate and political India have long benefited from each other in navigating a businessclimate rife with deep-rooted patronage systems, but Hopper claims the Reddy-led Congressgovernment indulged in an unthinkable level of corruption which defied even “the norm forIndia.”The cable dated 22 October 2007, gives the diplomat‟s frank assessment of allegations ofwidespread corruption among Andhra Pradesh‟s ruling elite. He says Reddy‟s big-ticket
social programmes to do with irrigation and building houses for the poor were mired innepotism, shadiness and profiteering. The diplomat puts the cost of Reddy‟s ambitious RajivSwagruha Programme aimed at building 16 lakh low-cost houses in the state at $4 billion to$6 billion. The 26 new irrigation projects he envisaged were expected to cost the state nearly$11 billion.“There is consensus in Andhra Pradesh that irrigation and housing programmes are besetwith corruption. On separate visits to Hyderabad, we heard allegations of widespread graftfrom several neutral observers,” said Hopper‟s cable.“An economist, who is studying the effectiveness of the state government‟s programmes,said with only four to five companies executing the projects through numeroussubcontractors and little oversight, there are many opportunities for graft in the irrigationschemes.”The US cable also pointed out that the chief minister and his party took a bigger cut frompromoters wanting to put up multi-crore projects in the state. “Typically, five to sevenpercent is lost to corruption, but in Reddy‟s irrigation programme that figure is more than15 to 20 percent,” said the cable. “The sheer size of Reddy‟s signature programmes, withliterally billions of dollars at play every year, leaves much room for „leakage‟ to Congressparty officials and their allies.”“We thought Naidu was bad, but that was child‟s play compared with what is happeningnow.”Hopper told his bosses in the US state department that widespread corruption in theCongress government seemed to be an “open secret” in Andhra Pradesh.EmailShareA day after UP Lokayukta recommended his dismissal on disproportionateassets charges, the UP Chief Minister on 5th October, dismissed the twoMinisters, of her cabinet, for graft cases. Earlier on the basis of the sameLokayukta report, animal husbandry minister and religious endowmentministers had also lost their ministerial berths.Chairman of Public Accounts Committee of Goa Assembly ( Since removed)has held that “The chief minister does not want to change the situation in themining department and does not want to punish anyone who is guilty. A thirdperson will infer that he is involved… He held the state‟s mining department,
led by chief minister since 2000, responsible for inaction against illegalmining.“Of the 54 million tonne (of iron ore) exported this year, 30 million tonne islegal, and the rest — more than 20 million tonne — illegal… He said therewere details in the report that established the collusion between the minesdepartment, the Indian Bureau of Mines, the forest and environmentdepartments and the Goa government with mining companies.He said a mine that had got environment clearance (EC) in 2008 showedexcess mining as originating from old dumps. “How can there be dumpswhen the mine got EC only in 2008.However, the majority of members belonging to the ruling party did not signthe report. It is exactly a repeat of the 2 G PAC of the Parliament, asobviously no ruling party anywhere would like to be seen in bad light.Forget about the corruption in high places, in day to day‟ working somepublic servants, have become extortionists. If media reports are to be believeda Woman Transport Officer in UP beat a driver to death, because he refusedto pay bribe in September, 2011. A woman DSP and her reader were arrestedby the CBI in Chandigarh, for settling a complaint for Rs, one Lakh again inAugust, 2011. This probably will make the few protagonists of women‟srights happy, that they are no less in indulging in corruption as compared tothe men folks occupying position of authority and power.A total of 1,303 Delhi Police officials were punished for their involvement incriminal cases and other complaints in 2010, with constables topping the listof ignominy with 474. This number is 18 times the 2009 „s figure of 74.Thirty-five policemen, including 23 constables and five head constables,were dismissed from service after they were found involved in criminal orcorruption cases in 2010 .Official statistics say that only 74 personnel were punished in 2009, 102 in2008 and 197 2007. Two ACPs were given minor punishment. A total of 145inspectors and 112 sub-inspectors also faced action last year. At least onething should be said to the credit of the police is that most of the time, theSenior officials do take action on complaints Other departments have beenindifferent to the problem of corruption, if not exactly collusive. In the caseof senior officials, we believe in tokenism, rather than exemplary retribution.Raising the issue of non-compliance of its recommendations, the CentralVigilance Commission (CVC) has named the Department ofTelecommunication (DoT), Central Reserve Police Force and Indian
Railways among those over¬ruling it.We have the lowest judges to population ratio of approximately 9.5 permillion population, where as, as per World norms as well as our lawcommission recommendations, it should be 50 judges per million population.All high profile cases of corruption require investigation, as in such cases, illgotten money is stashed abroad in tax heaves.The Letter Rogatory is a formal communication sent by an Indian court to aforeign government, where action is pending in that country‟s court, orrequesting the testimony of a witness residing within the jurisdiction of theforeign court, or collection of evidence. It is an important tool used by CBI orIncome Tax or Enforcement Directorate to seek information from abroad. Atpresent, it takes 6-8 months to send it as a large number of Governmentdepartments have to vet. CVC, in its latest annual report, issued in September2010, has asked the government to empower CBI to send its team of sleuthsto any place outside the country and post special police officers in missions.It added that “On a review of the existing procedure/methodology followedfor investigations abroad, it is observed that the system requires certainimprovements both for speeding up the process and for delivering qualitativeresults”.The Union Home Ministry, is set to add a chapter, in the Indian Penal Code(IPC) to check corruption in the private sector. It will soon be a crime forprivate companies and their officials to give and receive bribes.The rule applicable to mal-practices in granting and securing of governmentcontracts will be extended to private sector contracts once the new chap¬teris incorporated into the IPC.At present, the law is focussed exclusively on corruption with¬in thegovernment and among public functionaries.The move is a follow-up to the UN Convention against Corruption, ratifiedby India recently, that requires member states to address the supply side ofcor¬ruption involving government functionaries and corrupt prac¬ticeswithin the private sector.Fighting corruption should be the highest patriotic duty. Mark Twain Oncesaid about American Congress ( Parliament) “It could probably be shown byfacts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal classexcept Congress.” It is for each one of us to assess, as how much of it isapplicable to Indian Scenario.