Who Is Afraid Of the Anti-Corruption Bureau? || by Bhushan Parimoo || LIVE IMAGE

None other than a small fish in the administrative waters. Who gets tempted to swim like a biggie fish  and snared? Novice enough not to realise that these mogul fish swim along, are either big enough for the net or have developed the tricks to come out of it. Not a vague presumption as per figures available in its 89 years of establishment. Not on any account a mean period, yet   there is hardly anything to write home about.

That has been supported by no one other than the present  Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta IAS, the Chief Secretary, of the Union Territory the other day  as carried by a local English paper, Works allotted without tenders, Administrative approval earlier, JKPCC  never tendered projects,  A project started  for Rs 10 crores  ended upto 100 crores No one was there to ask,adding  If that's not Corruption what it is ?  

Despite concer, check and alance, brought in corruption goes on without any respite to a commoner. Barring pre 1948 where inquest was fast, to the point and the dismissal within days of the Mugal fish and their associates. This writer found interesting news that the Anti-Corruption Bureau filed a charge sheet against a forest guard in a disproportionate assets case. Who has amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income from “corrupt and illegal practices”. 

Acquired residential houses and flat outside the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir worth over crore of rupees, besides five luxury vehicles, two commercial vehicles, two earth-movers and two tractors in the names of his family members and close relatives. The case was registered in 2015 and took half a dozen years to complete.  

Reveals the quantum of corruption reeling under the nose of the Anti Corruption Bureau. A forest guard amassed such a huge asset, gives the reason to ask, is it a rarest of rare case, or one among many. Question arises what the Bureau was doing all the years while he was indulging in amassing the money, not a single day affair or needle in the stock of hey. The charge sheet materialised only after the change of guards in the Government. 

Under the doctrine pick and choose as masters want. Another query one is bound to ask .what has been the modus operandi he indulged in to amass   such a wealth. Hawala Money, Narcotic indulgence or was just a conduit taking his pound of flesh in these deals. Source of money and the purpose to provide has not been worked out as both taker and giver are culprits under law. A forest guard, without any tantric magic cannot amass wealth to such a proportion, without connivance of the Baggie, who are left scot free. 

A primary class student shared a poster photo with a query, tauntingly perhaps, hanging on the entrance of a Directorate “In the National Interests refrain from Corruption, Zero Tolerance to Corruption”. Asked if it is possible,    sheepishly responded that this pertains to the Anti-Corruption Bureau the competent  authority to answer.
It was the Late Maharaja Hari Singh the ruler of the State, who desired among others landmark initiatives for the welfare of subjects to provide an untainted deliverance system of the government. Made provision in the Rambhir Penal code in 1932 to nip in the bed, offences of corruption and bribery by the Government Employees  Such cases   were registered and investigated by Local Police  reason  must have been the number of  such cases a few and far in-between. 

Administration under Naya Kashmir the rule of the masses started, developing the taste of ill gotten fruits. Sapling of corruption started  sprouting once again instead curbing strictly there and then as per law.

Corruption once used to be taboo  and naturally the new entrants in the services from valley called it Haram for  Jammuites it was a taboo. However, the newly acquired taste was too tempting to refuse. To silence the critics, as politicians seek refuge enactment J&K Prevention of Corruption Act (1949 AD).Established “Anti-Corruption Wing” in the Crime Branch for conducting the investigation of such cases. 

However, as expected, the prevailing intention has remained a constant factor. It was rechristened in 1962  as “Anti-Corruption Organization”. Wading through the memory lane various Acts thereafter were enacted to deal effectively with the menace of corruption. Most important among those enactments were, Prevention of Corruption Laws (amendment) Act, 1983 A.D. by virtue of which the “Anti-Corruption Organization” was renamed as “State Vigilance Organization”, and J&K Public Men and Public Servants Declaration of Assets. 

By virtue of this Act, the elected representatives of various public bodies, MLAs and Ministers were brought under the purview of Corruption Laws and filing of Annual Property Returns was made mandatory for all public servants and public men. Failure to do so was made an offence under P.C. Act, 2006 . 

Keeping in view its track record, which necessitated making the amendments more often in the law? Makes one think where lays the fault that aggregates the quantum of the corruption going from bad to worse with every passing day. Fault has not been found in any of these laws enacted and re-enacted but with those who are asked to implement. What should have been nipped in the bud has grown over the years slowly but steadily under patronage. 

Into a large  Banyan tree of Corruption as Kalpavriksha, which means 'wish fulfilling tree under which corrupt find refuge. Late Sh.Bansilal Kohistani, then M.L.A from Reasi Constituency  in the Assembly as a Parliamentary Secretary proposed in 1970 . Legalize corruption by auctioning government posts  (Reshwat Jaayeez Kaar Dee Jaayee  aur Audaah Leelaam Keeyaay Jaanyee,). 

Rationale behind it has been that it makes no sense to allow salary and the graft to go together. Instead auction posts to the highest bidder and let them make money according to the capability. Thus the Government shall not be a loser. Its coffers will be overflowing. He had a valid point as the rate of those convicted had been at baseline. Corruption has skyrocketed since then. 

It took everybody by surprise then. Those were   the days taking graft was an exceptional event disdained and frowned upon. God fearing Humanity and compassion was the order of the day .Service rendering was taken as Dharma .He must have in his mind the theory that doesn't criticize the sin but legalize it. 

An impeccable God fearing junior level official in the vigilance wing in the General Administration Department once opined that Vigilance department legalize corruption. Permission to prosecute is rarely given and takes years .That provides adequate time to influence, intimidate and harass the Whistleblower or make machinery run in favour. Prolonged investigation   becomes Milking cows for SVO. 

Moreover past track record shows lower rung of officials are booked beside it has become a matter for locals’ rest one can find from the records to correct. Corruption is not only taking money but favouritism, misuse of authority, violating service conduct rules and financial irregularities for personal benefits etc list is a long and may appear unending one.

It was the late S.S.Kapoor IPS then vigilance Commissioner, once expressed that the Vigilance Department should be an independent agency none transferable with  other police wings. Late Baikshi Gulam Mohamed the Prime Minister, became notorious for corruption, but history proves him to be just a victim of adversaries .In comparison none  gazetted officers  in the organisation as alleged have far more assets.

Justice K N Wanchoo as the head of the Direct Taxes Enquiry Committee in December 1971. Submitted his findings in his report showed Concern County is infested by pumping in ill gotten money. A parallel economy which harms growth of the country   from unaccounted, black, dirty and   underground wealth, black economy, parallel  economy, Shadow economy  or unofficial  one. 

Twenty two years later again a mock drill was conducted to silence public outcry for rising corruption. Sh N.N. Vohra, then secretary Home Affairs was asked to study the problem of the criminalization of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats. He submitted the report in October 1993 observed that the nexus does exist between the criminal gangs, police, bureaucracy and politicians’.

The money power is used to develop a network of muscle-power which is also used by the politicians during elections. Strangely the same   N.N Vohra the Governor at the helm of affairs  for more than a decade here proved a catalytic agent for corruption by non performance. 

That means it is the master that calls the shot.The scenario gets murkier and murkier day by day. It is one of the usual rhetoric from a politician. Just for public consumption not meant to be implemented. Under these undeniable facts it is better to wind up the Anti-Corruption Bureau, a white elephant. Auction posts; Legalize Corruption.

 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)

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