State home department wants to nab corrupt officials

Department urges government to punish those guilty

The Maharashtra government moves at a sluggish pace when it comes to dealing with corruption with an iron fist. Here’s proof: Out of the 167 officials nabbed by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) since January 1, 2013, no serious action has been taken against the tainted officials, despite repeated reminders. In fact, eight of the suspended officials got reinstated and some of them got promoted, too.

On August 28, the state home department (the parent body of the ACB) forwarded a report, comprising these numbers, to 13 government departments and urged them to take immediate ‘suitable action, initiating the suspension processes against accused officials with immediate effect’.

Even though
a circular (9392/30/9/99A) issued by the general administration department last year made it the duty of the department head to suspend and transfer officials found guilty of graft by the ACB, no action was taken against them. “When the mandate of the circular and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, are not effectively followed, it does not act anymore as deterrent against corrupt officials,” read the report prepared by desk officer (home), Santosh Deshmukh.

Of the 167 officials, 55 of them belonged to the revenue and land records department, 31 came from the rural development department, 26 from the state education department and 13 and 11 in health and home departments respectively. With as many as 810 public servants getting arrested, in 2013, the state held the dubious distinction of topping the list of number of officials arrested in cases of graft.

Sources in the government said the maximum punishment for those found guilty of corruption included a temporary withdrawal of salary once the preliminary enquiry is conducted. “We have asked the government to set up vigilance committees in each department on the lines of Central Vigilance Commission and put a system in place to check financial expenditure in departments. But nothing has been done so far,” said a senior official of the state home department.

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