"Policemen in my area are very corrupt, please arrest them,""said an agitated senior citizen who was one of the 23 callers at the toll free number of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) that was inaugurated on Monday.
The senior citizen, from a western suburb, wanted to register his protest against the corruption but was not willing to come forward. However, the toll free number (1800 22 2021) gave him an opportunity to express his ire. He was asked to fax an anonymous complaint giving details on the corrupt activities going on in his area.
The response on the first day of the toll free number has strengthened the confidence among ACB officers about its success. "The number, easy to remember, gives publicity to the ACB. We want more and more public to come forward and report about corruption," said Dr Pradnya Saravade, Additional Commissioner, ACB, Mumbai. She said that it's an all India toll free number (which means the callers won't have to bear any charges even if they are calling from any other state). She added that posters were pasted all over the city to spread awareness about this number.
However, the only hitch here is that the number is provided by Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and is not accessible by other landline and mobile networks.
The ACB also got calls about bribe demands by some public servants in Thane and Kalyan areas. "We gave them the numbers of ACB office situated in Thane and also guided them on lodging a complaint," said Vilas Tupe, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, ACB, Mumbai.
Besides this, two calls were to ask address of the ACB office and directions how to reach there.
The number was inaugurated as part of Vigilance Awareness Week being observed from November 6 to November 10.
Meanwhile, till October 31 this year, the ACB trapped 342 public servants in Maharashtra. Revenue department topped the list with 68 of its staffers trapped while accepting bribe. They were followed by the police department with 53 policemen trapped in the state.