Herald: With no action against corruption, it’s become merely a talking point

With no action against corruption, it’s become merely a talking point

17 Feb 2019 03:57am IST
Leave a comment
17 Feb 2019 03:57am IST

When a case of corruption takes years to be investigated, what is the message that is being sent to the people? Is it that there is zero tolerance to corruption?

When a case of corruption takes years to be investigated, what is the message that is being sent to the people? Is it that there is zero tolerance to corruption?

No, the large number of cases that are pending with the Anti-Corruption Branch and the Vigilance Department is testimony to the lackadaisical attitude that the government has towards tackling corruption in the State. The Department has 128 cases pending with it, some since 2006, whereas ACB has 62 of them and all are still in the process of investigation. Named in some of the cases that have been filed are some prominent politicians and bureaucrats, but almost all the cases remain uninvestigated. There are some rather stock replies to the issue of why the investigations have not progressed, like the premature transfer of officers, witnesses not turning up, and the shortage of staff.

During the recent Assembly session, the Chief Minister in a written reply had said that inquiries in the delayed cases will be expedited. But, besides the assurance, what is required is a timeframe for the various stages of investigation, and the officials held responsible for any delays. Failing this, the investigating officer will have no reason to expedite the matter. 

If the objective of filing a case with the Vigilance Department or the ACB is to fight corruption by public servants, then quick disposal of complaints leading to either the removal of the corrupt officer or his exoneration has to be a corollary. The delay is not restricted to Goa. A study undertaken a couple of years ago by the Central Vigilance Commission found that it takes at least eight years for a case of corruption against a government employee in India to take its course. Here in Goa, it appears to be much longer.

The delay in investigations defeats the purpose of filing the cases which is to bring the alleged offender to book. The object has to be to bring government functionaries accused of corruption to justice immediately. If the officer is innocent, not only does the case hang around the neck of the accused officer like an albatross, but their career prospects too can be affected until they are cleared of the allegations, while corrupt officials hold positions of power. The delay in investigation poses a large shadow on the functioning and efficiency of the Vigilance Department, which is meant to fight corruption. Is the department vigilant to corruption or is it turning out to be an impediment to this fight. 

There are some cases that have remained in the investigation process for over a decade. How’s that for zero tolerance to corruption or for giving the State a clean administration? If this keeps up, then what happened to the ‘parivartan’ that had been promised in 2012? Instead of the promised change, we appear to have resigned ourselves to the ‘nothing will change’ attitude that seeped in years ago, and still pervades in the State. There cannot be an end to corruption if the body that probes it is weak and ineffective. As seen in this, the tools exist, but they have not been sharpened to do battle with corruption.

The fight against corruption cannot weaken, it has to be strengthened. This can only be done by the people who can pressure the government to act against the malaise that has crept into society. The government by itself will not bring about any change in regard to this willfully, because the political leaders have consistently shown no concern to the delay in probing corruption cases. To them, corruption is a talking point, to be brought up and condemned, but take no action. It is only the people who can force the government to act.

Leave a comment
Comments
Leave a comment


herald epaper herald epaper

Advertise     |     Contact Us     |     About Us     |     Terms of Use     |     Privacy Policy     |     Disclaimer     |     Designed by Team Inertia Technologies

       

Designed by Team Inertia Technologies