Jaipur, July 23: Rajasthan High Court has come to the aid of a government officer who was chargesheeted for writing a book exposing corruption in his department.
The court also pulled up the Ashok Gehlot government for the third time in the past month for protecting corrupt officers and the increasing corruption in the state.
Taking suo motu cognisance of local newspaper reports, a division bench of Justices K.S. Rathore and S.K. Keshote directed the Rajasthan Rajya Bunkar Cooperative Sangh not to suspend assistant manager Suraj Bhan Singh.
The Sangh had chargesheeted Singh and suspended him for allegedly breaching the official code of conduct and tarnishing its image. The bench directed the Sangh chairman “not to suspend Singh if orders to this effect have not been issued till now”.
In his book, Naukri Karni Hai to Bhrashtachaar Karna hi Hoga (You have to be corrupt if you wish to work), Singh writes of senior officers involved in corruption.
The officer said seniors force their subordinates to engage in corruption; they are pulled up if they don’t.
The court today said: “An officer who is courageous enough to come up with a book on corrupt officials deserves just and impartial treatment.”
Justices Rathore and Keshote also attributed the recent monsoon damage to roads to corruption. “Roads worth Rs 30 crore have been washed away. This obviously reeks of corruption,” they said.
It was no secret why this was happening, the court said. It added that people were aware of what was afoot, but were helpless to do anything.
The bench took note of a newspaper report which said that P.C. Bararia, director (engineering), Jaipur Development Authority, had not been removed despite a Lokayukt report that found him guilty of corruption. Instead, the urban development minister had responded by saying Bararia’s removal would affect the authority’s functioning.
The court said the minister’s remarks amounted to supporting the corrupt officer. The post of the lokayukt appeared to be there for the sake of it, it added.
It was unfortunate that the government chose to give clean chits to corrupt officials, the court said.
In its interim order, the high court said the minister was “supporting” corrupt officials in his department.
It added that the Gehlot government, so far from nipping corruption in the bud, did not even appear interested in curbing it.
Referring to the alleged clean chit given to two IAS officers facing corruption charges, Justices Rathore and Keshote said such an attitude would make it impossible to check corruption.
They said the goings-on proved that the government’s claim that it had eradicated corruption was hollow.
The court has served a showcause notice to the government, returnable on August 5.