CM’s big test: Curbing corruption | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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CM’s big test: Curbing corruption

Corruption, scams and involvement of ministers in multiple controversies finally led to the sun setting on the UPA 2 regime. The new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s success in Maharashtra is partially linked to the Congress-NCP’s tainted and controversial past – Adarsh and irrigation scams.

mumbai Updated: Nov 04, 2014 00:23 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

Corruption, scams and involvement of ministers in multiple controversies finally led to the sun setting on the UPA 2 regime. The new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s success in Maharashtra is partially linked to the Congress-NCP’s tainted and controversial past – Adarsh and irrigation scams.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, for one, is aware of the role ‘corruption’ has played since 2011, culminating in the power shift in the country and the state.

That is one of the reasons on Sunday, while addressing a crowd in Nagpur, Fadnavis said he will bring in a strong Lokayukta.
An independent Lokayukta with its own police force to investigate graft cases, with even the CM under its ambit (as Fadnavis had moved in a private member bill in 2011), will signal the BJP government’s commitment to curb corruption.

But there is a lot more Fadnavis can do before enacting new laws or probing scams.

Experts and senior bureaucrats said political will of the CM is more important than laws getting amended. And it will have to start from smaller cases.

“Corruption has been institutionalised in the administration. It is understood that there is a certain cut to move a file even after aformal decision is made. You will have to pay to get a health certificate, marriage certificate or get the police to investigate your case,” said an official from the home department.

He added that the CM needs to make it clear that this will not be tolerated and guilty officials will face action immediately.

“If Modi can get people to get to work on time, Fadnavis can ensure zero-tolerance policy by penalising errant officials. There are hundreds of pending cases against officials for lack of sanctions,” said Shailesh Gandhi, former chief information commissioner.

As on Monday, there were 450 graft cases against government servants awaiting sanctions. In 126 cases, the 90 days for according clearance are long over.

Gandhi said moving to a paperless office can end under-the-table deals. “If you put everything online, have e-tenders, the room for wrongdoing is narrowed,” he said.

Former IPS-officer-turned lawyer YP Singh said Fadnavis can issue a directive that no sanction is required to prosecute public servants under the IPC. “No sanction for prosecution is required under law, except for cases tried under Prevention of Corruption Act. The SC has already said sanction has to be given in three months or it is deemed as granted,” he said.

With the home department under his belt, Fadnavis has a chance to strengthen the ACB.

Officials said the real challenge is within the corridors of power. “The cartel of contractors remains the same irrespective of who is in power. There is an accepted route of landing contracts, which is unlikely to change,” said a senior bureaucrat.