Caught! ACB spreads net, nabs 585 babus asking bribes
Corrupt government officials are squirming in their seats, not sure if that nondescript guy sitting and sipping tea in the corridor outside their office is actually a cop in disguise. In perhaps the most proactive drive yet in its recent history, officers of the state’s Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) have stepped up the ante and dropped in to various government offices unannounced, literally catching hundreds of government servants accepting bribes or indulging in other corrupt practices.
DG, Anti Corruption Bureau, Praveen Dixit. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The numbers are big and somehow not surprising. The ACB laid 425 traps across the state between October 2013 and March 2014, and arrested a staggering 585 government servants in the past six months. The number is 50 per cent higher than last year.
The new initiative is a brainchild of Director General of ACB, Praveen Dixit, who has ordered his staff to patrol all government offices and keep a check on activities of government officers.
“Earlier we used to venture out and lay a trap only after a complainant approached us with grievances. However, under this initiative, we are trying to be a lot more proactive,” says Dixit.
How the cops work
Under this initiative, seven to eight police inspectors and a team of more than 25 constables — all in plainclothes — station themselves at various entry and exit points as well as inside BMC offices, police stations, gram panchayat and revenue department offices. They keep their eyes and ears open to identify someone who has been told to pay a bribe and then use the potential victim to catch corrupt officials as they accept bribes.
The list of government officers arrested or caught clearly shows how transparent governance is a sham and that corruption rules the roost in most government offices. Dixit says his team has arrested corporators, government- appointed doctors, mantralaya officials, PWD officials, senior police officers and even a former minister.
Among those caught taking bribes are 108 policemen (between October 2013 and March 2014), which is a significant increase from the same period last year, when 78 cops had been nabbed. Over 100 officers of the state revenue department and 33 BMC officials were arrested too. “The conviction rate has also gone up. In 2009 it was 23 per cent.
In 2012 it went to 24 per cent but dropped to 21 per cent in 2013, but since the time Dixit sir took over it has gone to a record 28 per cent,” said an ACB official.