The Telegraph
Thursday , January 16 , 2014
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Nitish turns up heat on graft in govt

Patna, Jan. 15: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today instructed government departments to dispose of around 800 cases of corruption pending against public servants within two months.

Sources said the chief minister wants the proceedings to end before the Lok Sabha elections to keep his promise made to the people during the 2010 Assembly polls.

During a review today of corruption cases, Nitish learnt that around 800 cases of departmental proceedings were pending against government officials for involvement in corrupt practices since 2000. He directed the heads of the departments concerned to finish the proceedings within two months. “Even if 40-50 per cent of the cases are disposed of within that time, it would send a strong message to corrupt public servants,” he said.

Underlying the need for strengthening the vigilance committees in the districts, Nitish asked officials to activate the panels for better monitoring and execution of welfare and development schemes at the grassroots.

“If required, bring about changes in the existing circulars and vest powers with the district magistrates (DMs) so they could take immediate action against those involved in corrupt practices,” he said.

The chief minister was surprised to know that some officials had not been suspended by the departments concerned even after graft cases were lodged against them. He asked the officials to improve the delivery mechanism in the larger interest of the people. “The majority of the complaints come from three places (block, circle and police stations), which need to be revamped immediately,” he said.

Sources said that during his different yatras, Nitish had received complaints from the people about corruption prevalent in government offices, as well as in public distribution shops meant for economically backward sections.

After the meeting, which lasted two-and-a-half-hours, chief secretary A.K. Sinha told reporters that the chief minister has asked the officials concerned to dismiss over 300 corrupt government employees after initiating departmental proceedings within two months. “Their dismissal would send a message among the people and also instil a sense of fear among corrupt employees,” he said.

Sinha said the chief minister has directed strengthening of the vigilance bureau on the pattern of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He said instructions have been issued to the heads of departments to initiate disciplinary action against corrupt public servants who were acquitted by courts in trap cases. “Under such circumstances, heads of departments would initiate action against them on charges of misconduct, leading to their dismissal from service,” he added.

Nitish directed the chief secretary to monitor the status of departmental proceedings in trap and corruption cases on a weekly basis. “But be cautious while dealing with such matters. Corrupt employees, in no case, should take advantage of any loopholes,” Nitish said.

The chief minister said every department has to notify an officer to look into complaints of corruption. In the districts, one officer each from the civil services and the police would be notified as vigilance officers and would work under the vigilance commissioner.

All departments would have to set up a helpline within 15 days so that complaints regarding corrupt practices could be received. Follow-up action would be taken based on these complaints.