Saturday, August 04, 2007

How to save your own skin in a corruption case

The slum land allotment case in India suddenly blew up. From initial results, some things seem clear. The man who made so much money through this morass of corruption and theft, Ashok Malhotra, made a lot of money through the active help of corrupt MCD and DDA employees, including senior people. But you know the Government and the legal system, it depends on proof. And since there has not been a good track record in terms of arresting and prosecuting Government employees for their various nefarious activities, it is assumed that such a situation will continue. Or at least that's what the employees in the MCD office think. Get rid of the documentation, and voila, there's no proof. And the sad thing is, it might work:

An audacious Operation Cover-up has been launched to save the skin of scamster Ashok Malhotra and his accomplices in MCD. Within hours of TOI front-paging the story of this roadside chhole vendor who created a business worth Rs 100 crore with the help of politicians and babus, at least 2,700 files containing proof of allotment of resettlement colony plots to fictitious entities have gone missing.
Sources said the MCD brass is rattled by the brazenness of the cover-up operation and has initiated a vigilance probe into disappearance of at least 2,700 files, reported missing at last count. Heads in the Slum and JJ Wing have started rolling. A senior official of the building department, responsible for allotment of plots by MCD, has been divested of his responsibility and shifted to another post.

It is impossible for the legal system to function if something as basic as retaining evidence is not maintained. Destroying evidence located at Government offices is a crime of the highest order, and for example, in the US, destroying such evidence can lead to very bad consequences. But as I was saying, nothing will happen here.
In the Indian system, how do you punish an official ? You order his removal from his current position, and get this, you move him to another position. This realistically could be a major problem for the individual concerned since he could be very well moved out of a position where he was making a lot of money. But it is very much possible that when the pressure dies down, he can make his move back to his older position and resume what he was doing.
And of course, our high profile Delhi politicians are totally silent. All this has happened under the reign of Madam Sheila Dixit, so she should be held culpable for this major crime that has been ongoing for some time. It is even more so of a crime because it impacts the housing for slum-dwellers, who are not a very well-provided lot anyway. But, will anything happen? Yes, more such attempts will be made by officials to cover their respective asses.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:46 AM