Serving citizens without any bias is the responsibility of government servants. Corrupt government officers, it seems, don’t just follow the motto to a tee, but also take it a step forward. For, they discriminate against nobody — be it senior citizens, women, the poor or physically challenged — while demanding bribes, according to a study conducted by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
In 131 of the 722 traps laid by the ACB across the state till August 10 to catch babus accepting or demanding bribes, 10 complainants were senior citizens, 26 women, 11 physically challenged and 84 from the schedules castes and scheduled tribes.
“The study shows how people from the economically weaker sections, who were seeking relief, too, were not spared by government servants. It is clear they don’t care about the plight of the hapless and poor,” said Praveen Dixit, director general of police, ACB.
To the surprise of the anti-corruption bureau, in some cases, the bribe amount was as low as Rs. 100 while in some, the demand was in lakhs.
“The numbers tell the story. The officers don’t always ask for money out of desperation. For some well-paid officials, it has become a matter of habit,” said Dixit.
Irrespective of the reason, the increase in corruption is cause for concern. “In some cases, the hassled complainants were trying to get the relief amount granted to them by the government. But some corrupt officials demanded a share in that too. We are glad such people approached us in time and did not fall prey to the pressure,” he said.
According to the ACB sleuths, they have come across several government offices which had failed to display boards that denounced corruption, or did not put up the address and contact numbers of the ACB. Such offices have been instructed to put up the boards at the earliest.
Moreover, to encourage more people to file cases of corruption, the ACB has come up with two helpline numbers for each district in the state. People can also send text messages on these numbers.