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Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers (ARSIPSO)

This is with reference to my letter No. ARSIPSO/GS-BSD-4/2023 dated. 10/08/2023 on the 4th B.S. Das Memorial Lecture, which had to be rescheduled for unavoidable reasons.

The 4th B.S.Das Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Shri Anil Kumar Sinha, IAS (Retd.), on the subject Disaster Management: Creating Safer Communities, has now been rescheduled for October 14, 2023 as per the following:

Conference Room No. 2, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, October 14, 2023 (Saturday)

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Corruption in India: Muck in the System - By Joginder Singh, former Director, C.B.I.


There are various definitions of corruption. But the best one, in my view is that corruption is authority coupled with monopoly, but excludes transparency. CBI has reportedly unearthed Railway recruitment scam by conducting simultaneous raids at Mumbai, Bangalore, Raipur, Kolkata and Hyderabad. This fraud, relates to the examinations of Assistant Loco Pilots and Assistant Station Masters. The then ADRM, Raipur in connivance with the officials of RRB, Mumbai had secured a copy of the question paper before the examination date and provided the same to several aspirants. Each candidate had to pay to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh. The aspirants were required to deposit their original certificates with Jagannathan, an Additional Railway Manager, Raipur.

Those arrested included Vivek Bhardwaj Sharma, son of S M Sharma, Chairman of Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), Mumbai, as well as Sharma himself (since suspended), the then Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM), Raipur A K Jagannatham, his son Srujan, DRM Personnel Sethi from Raipur and others. The question paper was provided to them one day prior to the examination.

Gone are the days of corruption running into hundreds and thousands of Rupees. Now, nobody talks of less than Lakhs. The searches in Mumbai have led to detection of Rs 60 lakh in bank accounts of family members of the suspended, apart from recoveries otherwise. Lest we forget the Premier Administrative Service, IAS, two of its members, a couple in MP, were suspended, after Income Tax officials raided their premises and recovered Rs 3.26 crore in cash and other assets. Besides Rs 3.26 crore cash, the Income Tax officials recovered jewellery worth Rs 67 lakh and foreign currency worth Rs 7 lakh. 14 bank lockers, which were found in the raids, have been sealed. Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, Rs 52 lakh cash, jewellery worth Rs 73 lakh, and 220 fake bank accounts with transactions of about Rs 40 crore were recovered in the raids. In my personal view, what has been recovered would at the best be the change, lying unguarded. The real cash or its conversion into property would be lying else where. It is not that other service, whether the IPS, or income tax, or Customs, or Medical and Health Department, Defence Services, are holier than those, whose cases have come to the forefront. In the past, dacoits used to loot hundreds, or thousands, and rarely Lakhs. Now the white coloured dacoits, in the name of exercising authority and power on behalf of the government, have converted their assignments into cash cows.
In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister in Charge of Personnel Department admitted in a written reply: "As on 31.03.2010, the number of IAS and IPS officers facing trial for criminal charges in CBI cases are: IAS 84, IPS 33."
An official of the World Bank and co-coordinator of SARI (Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative) Adrian Fozzard says that the assets to the tune of around USD 40 billion are lost to corrupt practices, including bribery and misappropriation of funds, in the developing countries annually. Only just about USD 5 billion of such funds have been recovered in the past 15 years. The tragedy in our country is that we are being looted not by the foreigners, but by our own people, who managed to be in power, either by hook or crook, either through elections or by selection. In the name of protecting the rights of the accused, that is, the corrupt, looter and modern day dacoits, the rights of the victims, that is, the people of India are being ignored and put on the back burner. One of the strange laws, which was struck by the Supreme Court on 17th December, 1997, was the single directive, issued in 1988, which required, that the investigation, before starting any inquiry against an officer of the level of the Joint Secretary and above, would need the prior permission of the Government. The Supreme Court had clearly said that it was ultra vires of the Constitution, as taking kickbacks and bribery is not the part of the duties of any Government servant.

It was smuggled in as a part of the CVC Bill which came into force in September, 2004. Surprisingly, no political party raised any finger at this. When I made inquiries, I was informally told that the Joint Secretarys level in the Government of India was a decision-making level. If that level was not provided protection, nobody would agree to do anything illegal at the behest of the political masters.

So the present position is that neither the CBI nor any other agency can even start an inquiry to cross check whether any allegation is true or not. Getting sanction to start any inquiry can take days, if not months and years, which has happened quite often. After investigation is over, another detailed report, with full evidence and result of investigation, is sent to the Government for sanction, under Section 197 of the CRPC, without which no court can take cognizance.

While literally a Chakarvyuh or Bhul Bhulian type of merry-go-round maze goes on, it is no wonder that corruption has become a low risk and a high paying activity. It makes no difference that the Government increases the allocation for poverty alleviation schemes. What is the point of having schemes running into thousand of crores of Rupees where the money, instead of reaching the beneficiaries, is siphoned off, on the way? If Rahul Gandhi is believed, only 10 Paise out of ten Rupees reaches the level for which it is intended. The first question government should ask itself whether it serves any public purpose to provide layers after layers of protection and appeals after appeals to the dacoits and robbers, who are robbing the poor of their due. It must question itself, as to how many persons it has dismissed under Article 311, summarily, for glaring cases of corruption. To the best of knowledge, it is nil in the case of top bureaucracy. It just would not do, to push everything, under the carpet, on the thinnest possible excuse that let the law take its own course. The Government very well knows how our courts are cluttered with cases, that quite often it is just not possible to expect justice, during ones lifetime because of the sheer lack of number of judges and infrastructure required to strengthen our judicial system. What the Government should do and the way it has to do, it is incredibly simple. Whether it is willing to do is another matter.

The views and facts stated above are entirely the responsibility of the author and do not reflect the views of this Association in any manner.

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