Scams Claim Victims
The appointment of the Chairman of the Railway Board has been hanging fire for some time now. Now a further twist has been added to the proceedings as R.S. Virdi, one of the contenders for the post, has been indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in a 10-year old case involving procurement of perfume dispensers.With Virdi’s chance at the position now practically ended, sources say that Acting Chairman of the Board Arunendra Kumar could well be the main contender. Some say that Radhey Shyam, General Manager of the Kolkata Metro, may well be the proverbial dark horse as his name has been cleared by the CVC. Meanwhile Virdi, who is claiming that the old case was “deliberately’ dug up to scuttle his chances, approached Railway Minister Mallikaarjun Kharge to intervene in the matter, his efforts have not been successful.
An almost similar situation has arisen at the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), where one of the contenders shortlisted for Chairman and MD of the company is under the Central Bureau of Investigation’s scanner for alleged involvement in the LTC scam. SCI has been without a head since January and can lose its ‘Navratna’status owing to the losses the company posted for two consecutive years.
Coming Clean Publically
A transparent bureaucracy is so obviously an oxymoron that when a babu actually dares to strike a different note, it becomes newsworthy. One such instance was noted in Karnataka last week. Rural Development Commissioner Munish Moudgil who is in charge of implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the State, announced publically that he would provide daily reports to the public on the progress in the Centre-sponsored scheme.
Mere bravado? But sources say that Moudgil, so far, has kept his promise to the media. Moudgil is not only posting information in the public domain but has also set up a toll-free number for callers to seek information, apply for new jobs or make a complaint. All this is rather refreshing to hear, for all those who often despair of the system. Hopefully, Moudgil’s example will inspire other babus to follow suit… or is this too far-fetched a notion?
Court Rebukes Babus
A retired IAS officer from Karnataka Ms Shamim Banu is in judicial custody for her alleged role in a case of illegal mining. But eyebrows were raised in several quarters when many IAS officers in the State publicly aired their views in defence of Ms Banu, asserting that she should not have been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is investigating the illegal mining. Not only this, the Karnataka IAS Officers Association too expressed solidarity with the accused. The association is headed by Additional Chief Secretary Kowshik Mukherjee, and apparently the babus have even decided to extend legal support to the accused officer.
This rather public display of camaraderie has not gone down well with the Karnataka High Court. The court recently questioned the association’s support for the babu when the matter was still sub-judice. The rebuke, hopefully, will temper the babus’ enthusiasm to support their ex-colleague.