It is the complaint of many investigating agencies that delay in obtaining sanction from the UPA Government to prosecute bureaucrats involved in graft has led to the impression that babus can get away with impunity. Though the UPA Government had piously stated last year that corrupt babus will be prosecuted within three months of filing the charge sheet, very little has changed, say sources. According to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), at least 27 cases are still awaiting sarkari sanction.
However, sources say that in at least one such case, the CVC has finally attained the go-ahead to prosecute IPS officer Rajesh Meena, police chief in Ajmer, Rajasthan, who was allegedly running an extortion racket in the district. He had been arrested in January, more than three months ago! But this pales in significance to the number of cases the vigilance panel has processed lately – more than 3,500 complaints, including those brought to its notice by whistleblowers and has forwarded 83 complaints to the concerned Ministries for further investigation. How many of these will reach fruition, we can only guess.
Netas not amused
Netas in Maharashtra have apparently come to believe that bureaucrats have become more powerful than the State Government. And that will never do. So Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan faced an embarrassing moment recently when his cabinet colleagues recently roundly rejected a proposal from senior babus K.P. Bakshi and Sanjay Chahande for setting up a policy research institute in the State. Their argument that any such institute will act only as a centre for retired babus and won’t help fulfil any real purpose won the day.
While the Ministers have all kinds of complains about bureaucrats, sources say, that what the netas find particularly galling is that the babus recently gave themselves a considerable hike in monthly allowances on the sly – without bringing the proposal to the Cabinet’s notice. Now, that really hurts!
Paying the price
Political parties, we know, are quick to take offence especially when reminded of less salutary moments in their recent history. A 1988 batch IAS officer in Kerala serving as Vice-Chancellor of Kerala Veterinary University forgot this simple truism and has therefore paid the price. Dr. B Ashok apparently wrote a newspaper article, which his political masters in the Congress-led UDF Government felt, criticised Congress’ PM-hopeful Rahul Gandhi while going easy on the party’s bête noire, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Poor judgement? For this “folly”, Ashok has been sacked as Vice Chancellor and further action is being contemplated. Observers say Ashok’s expulsion has more to do with his remarks about Gandhi than any violation of civil service rules, as is being made out. But now the BJP has jumped into the fray in the babu’s defence and so the matter continues to simmer.