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Panelists feel such actions will improve standards in bureaucracy, and check overall corruption

The government has retired from service 12 senior IT officers on charges of corruption and misconduct. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue. Anchorperson Neha Dubey posed the questions to panelists, including Allahabad HC lawyer Kumar Sambhav, former administrative officer Samiullah Ansariand APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Ansari said: “I have not seen so many officers sacked in this fashion earlier. Looks like investigations must have been going on for a long time.”

Raju said: “PM Modi had this slogan against corruption even earlier. Inquiries were going on earlier, there had been allegations against them, including sex harassment charges, and many other charges.  This is a straight message across that corruption and misconduct will not be tolerated.“

Ansari said: “I am of the view that this action is fully justified since, in many cases, inquiries had been going on for years. People are hankering for more and more money, they are not satisfied with what they have…and this starts the cycle of corruption. Government’s actions, like this, will make the public more confident about officialdom.”

Sambhav said: “Legally, these charges can be challenged in court. These laws have been made when the British were there, so as to soften the punishments for the sacked officers. So reform in the laws is needed. In many cases, corrupt offices are known to claim that the extra money in their accounts is due to the small business run by their spouses. On inquiry, all that is found to be fake.”

Raju said: “These cases were going on for long. In Lucknow, there is an officer against whom inquiries had been going on, but no action could be ever taken against him. The government’s latest effort is laudable as it send out a clear message.”

Ansari said: “Corruption is rampant, people are in a hurry to get their work done, and this breeds further corruption.”

Sambhav said: “Work should be done in a time-bound manner, there should be a law for this; for unnecessary delay, the officer concerned should pay the penalty. There should be a corruption helpline number as well, stating illegal funds demanded, or problem of delays etc. In courts, matters should be fast tracked as well. A long time is taken in trials, this should be cut short. We need to tighten the loose ends.”

Raju said: “It is not that inquiries don’t get done. People find it easier to pay bribe rather than take up fights. Kejriwal had said in Delhi that anyone asking for even Rs 5 bribe would be penalised, but that didn’t take off on the ground.”

Ansari said: “The government will need to look into all orders, and actions taken by the sacked officers.”

Sambhav said: “Actions taken by the sacked officers, if proved to be illegal, can be over-turned, and illegal funds retrieved from much officers…the law is clear on that.”

Raju said: “It is reliably learnt that CVC inquiries are going on against some 123 officers, but the clearance is awaited to start legal proceedings against them. Even in UP, the CM had said that an SIT would be set up to hasten proceedings against corrupt officers. But it has been one year since that announcement, and nothing has been done so far regarding that.”

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