Anna effect? Graft complaints dry up at city unit of ACB
Zero complaints received by Anti-Corruption Bureau since anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare's Lokpal Bill stir began in Delhi in mid-August and spurred thousands in city to take to streets in support.
Either the Anna-effect has already deterred bribe seekers in the city, or, so caught up have people been in their fight against corruption that they have actually forgotten to report actual cases of graft. It was expected that after the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement gained momentum, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) would be flooded with complaints.
Mass awakening: People from all walks of life and ages take part in a
rally in the city to support Anna Hazare during his hunger strike for the
Jan Lokpal bill in Delhi last month. pic/Krunal Gosavi
On the contrary, complaints from citizens have been few and far between. Compared to other centres in ACB's jurisdiction, the city unit has noticed an interesting trend. Ever since the anti-corruption movement gained momentum, not a single complaint was reported to ACB. ACB officers, however, said this had not stopped them from gathering information about possible corruption in various government offices. They said even if complainants did not go to them, suo motu complaints could be registered.
Weeding out corruption: Anna Hazare addresses his supporters after
breaking his fast on August 28 in New Delhi. The group India Against
Corruption, which supported Hazare's Jan Lokpal bill demand, says the
ACB may not have received any complaints but it has received at least
five regarding bribe demands. file pic
On an average, the ACB receives 25 to 30 complaints in a month, but from August 15 not a single complainant has come to them regarding bribe demands so far. "All the other units, including Satara, Sangali, Solapur, Kolhapur and Pune rural, showed no such trend, but only in the city there was a period in which we noticed not a single complaint had been reported to us," said Superintendent of ACB Sarang Aawad.
On the other hand, IAC, Pune chapter, has received at least five complaints from citizens regarding bribe being demanded at the Passport Office and Rationing Office for expedition of work. The IAC, which is a citizen's movement, had strongly supported Hazare's hunger strike in Delhi from August 16 demanding a strong Lokpal bill.
"Our volunteers will visit the Passport Office tomorrow and will appeal to the officer to make his office corruption-free," said B B Somani, Convener of IAC, Pune. "We will try to make officers attached to the passport office vow not to accept bribe." Somani while reasoning the cause for this trend said: "Citizens are coming to the IAC and not going to the ACB, so it means they trust us. And one more reason could be that citizens are stepping forward and saying no to bribe."
Average number of complaints ACB city unit used to receive every month before Hazare's fast in Delhi