Statistically speaking, your neighbourhood policeman has become less corrupt, as has your typical bureaucrat in the municipal office.
Going by the figures compiled by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), for the first time in four years the ever-rising graph of corruption in the police showed a downward trend in 2008.
So was the case with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The corruption indicator here is based on the number of officials caught in the act of receiving a bribe by the ACB.
Last year, 14 police personnel from the city and 16 BMC personnel were caught by the ACB.
From a modest eight police personnel caught in the ACB net in 2005, the figure had risen to nine in 2006, and broken all records in 2007 with 29 policemen.
The BMC figures in the respective years were seven, nine and 21.
These two state government departments every year occupy the top slots in the list of the most number of employees caught by the ACB. The reason may be these two departments have far greater staff strength than any other.
Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and now Bombay High Court lawyer YP Singh feels the latest figures do not speak of an increase in honesty levels in the police force.
“On the contrary, the plummeting graph is an indicator of the fact that corruption is taking place with impunity and people are averse to lodging a complaint,” said Singh.
The lawyer felt the ground reality was an increase in the level of corruption in all government offices.
“How can it be possible that only the police department remains immune?” said Singh.
The IPS officer-turned-lawyer said people were averse to approaching the ACB, fearing harassment.
“See the manner in which the Hasina Parkar [wanted don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister] case was handled by the ACB! The complainant was exposed and even arrested later,” said Singh.
He said people seemed to have lost faith in the entire anti-corruption machinery.
“In most cases, corruption case trials are not taken to their logical conclusion,” said Singh. “This is certainly a dampener.”