Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tainted system

There is a need for the State Government to take a cue from the system prevailing in top public sector undertakings (PSUs) operating throughout the country and abroad as to how the process of promoting officers is encapsulating a clearance from the vigilance angle and proper verification of an impeccable record of no punishment even in the shape of a warning or a censure from the concerned departmental and other related agencies to any of the eligible officers for promotion. Even at the stage of attaining superannuation, getting the financial benefits as applicable must pass through the filtration and scrutiny from the vigilance angle. When for enhancing the scale of salaries and perks, benchmarks as established in such PSUs and even Central Government departments are cited as a valid ground, which could not be otherwise questioned as a right of an employee, then why their process of promotions and even transfers could not be symbolically followed if not meticulously emulated? Indeed today there is a need to make it mandatory to follow the practice of deciding and ascertaining the status of cases registered by the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) before considering the promotion of tainted officers of the State Government. Such steps will have some but needed impact on containing corruption and corrupt practices in the administration. Promotion to next higher grade should be withheld if necessary information of where the cases stand or the latest status report from the premier investigation agency of the State is not there. It could give a succinct message to those who are under the radar of vigilance agency. So, the requisite integrity certificate following clearance from investigating agencies shall assume due importance and relevance. It is sad that today even tainted officers are getting promotions or to put it in common parlance, are being rewarded for being tainted. It is being done even if there are FIRs registered against such tainted officers under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Whether this all looks incredible or disgusting, is left to anyone’s judgment.
On the same line let us touch the Achilles heel of the Government in its tall claims about fighting the menace of corruption by questioning its very intentions. How can the Government, otherwise, account for tainted officials being allowed to enjoy plum and prized postings at different levels in the State administration. The intentions of the Government would never have invited adverse feelings from the public who are carefully but indignantly watching the gap between a projected perception and actual action by the Government in fighting the plague of corruption. It should, instead, have walked a step further by either attaching tainted officials with some departments or out rightly, placed their services under suspension pending decisions on their conduct by the competent authorities including the courts. It is not the question of such officials virtually carrying stigma of corruption or corrupt practices and even FIRs lodged against them, as badges of chivalry and enjoying cozy officialdom but seeing them getting no punishments, directly helps in abetting, promoting and instigating others to follow their path and thus make a mockery of the “commitment” of the political leadership to “eradicate” corruption, lock stock and barrel, from the State. Why is the Government itself creating obstacles and barriers in ensuring fair, impartial and time bound investigations by the state vigilance commission? The ones who should have been behind the bars are made cottoned to the postings of their choice due to connection with the higher ups. The mundanity by the Government in assertively implementing the cardinal rule in respect of a suspected corrupt official and more so, a booked one, is conspicuous of not removing him from the post and the station lest he manages tampering with records or attempting to influence prospective witnesses who would reveal all that was needed by the investigating agencies in getting him prosecuted. In other words, it amounted to encouraging corrupt practices in Government departments. The main question is as to how under these circumstances, corruption can be fought out.