National Federation of Indian women,
PRESS NOTE 1/10/09
1. Revival of stealthily abolished High Level Committee on Anti-Corruption
On 21/5/07, the Governor of Karnataka was given a representation to make functional all those non-functioning systems meant to curb corruption. Again, many organizations gave a representation to the Governor of Karnataka on 9/12/07 on the International Anti-Corruption Day regarding certain systems meant to curb corruption made non functional by corrupt officers in Karnataka. Governor’s office forwarded the Memorandum to the concerned officer but no action has been taken by the Chief Secretary till yesterday in spite of many requests. We have given a copy of the Gazette notification No. DPAR 37 SLU 2001, dated 23rd November 2001 giving details of the Constitution and functions of the High-level Anti-Corruption Committee. As can be seen from the Gazette Notification the High Level Committee on anti-corruption had representative from the Press, Advocates and Judges and even the Registrar of Lokayukta as members This Committee never met after 2004 and it was stealthily abolished on 2/11/o7(Even on this date we had requested the Governor to make it functional ) .The fact that it was abolished was kept a total secret till 20/7/2009 i.e. for almost two years even when asked under RTI Act. The decision was taken by the corrupt IAS officers during the Governor’s Rule in the absence of elected representatives and the reason that was given to get the Committee abolished is the following as per the letter given by a conscientious officer in letter No. DPAR 123 ta a e 2009 dated 20/7/09: The high level Committee on Anti-Corruption in 2001 stood abolished on 2/11/2007 , when it was decided by the Government that “since additional powers are being given to the Lokayukta , this Committee would not be necessary. In case it becomes necessary in future, it can be revived”.
To promote brazen corruption neither the Lokayukta has been given more power nor has the Committee been revived by these corrupt officers till today. What is unfortunately striking is the fact that Lokayukta at every opportunity is even now demanding more powers while Karnataka is getting continuously branded as one of the most corrupt States in the country. These had been brought to the notice of the just retired Chief Secretary many times. Unfortunately such an officer who supported brazen corruption till yesterday is made a member of the CAT from today. More details about his unscrupulous actions are given in the website http://fightcorruption.wikidot.com. It is unfortunate that most of the key posts are now held by notoriously corrupt officers
Creating a Committee only on paper to receive loan from the World Bank and later stealthily abolishing it helps only the corrupt while burdening the citizens with more loan for Services/infrastructure not given. A complaint has been given to the Integrity Vice Presidency of the World Bank demanding revival of the High level committee and removal of tainted officers from key posts as non-negotiable pre-conditions to give any assistance (Complaint No. 13922). It also appears that the abolition of the High Level Committee has been brought to the notice of the Hon’ble Lokayukta and the Registrar, Lokayukta. It is a purely administrative decision not requiring any amendment to any Act or Rule. We request the Lokayukta to pressurize the Government to revive the Committee as the role of the Lokayukta is complementary in nature to that of the High Level Committee. Many other systems to curb corruption and give protection to honest officers could have been made operational if the High level Committee had been functioning and its role had been given wide publicity. We request the new Chief Secretary through the media to take action for immediate revival of the High Level Committee on Anti-corruption.
2. Constituting Committees as directed by the Government of India to protect honest officers as early as in 2004.
Protection to honest officers to create the required environment is a major pre-condition for curbing corruption. Directions given by the Government of India in this regard have been deliberately ignored. Till today it has not been possible to obtain any information in this regard under the RTI Act and even the Karnataka Information Commission appears to be totally helpless. The Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended for giving statutory protection to whistleblowers. This may take time, but to act on the 2004 direction of Government of India it should not have taken any time. In spite of it, it has not been done till today. Through the media, we request the new Chief Secretary whose uprightness is well known to create the Committees suggested by Government of India as early as in 2004 so that the first step to remove the blot on Karnataka as one of the most corrupt states is taken.
3. Making public declaration of assets of all IAS officers
Declaration of Assets by Public servants is another major pre-condition for curbing corruption. For the legislators it is mandatory to declare assets. All judges of The Supreme Court and judges of some High Courts who are not at all directly involved in the executive works have also come forward to declare information about their assets on the website of their respective courts. It is unfortunate that IAS officers who directly handle crores of rupees of public money are not coming forward to declare information about their assets Hence we are also demanding the new Chief Secretary to declare information about his assets voluntarily and lead by example so that all officers in the Government also come forward to declare assets (Till today as per our knowledge only one IAS officer has given information of his assets to be given to public and while two other though informed the Lokayukta that they would give information to the Lokayukta have not done so). We have requested the Karnataka Bar Council to ask any quasi-judicial authority before whom the advocates appear wearing black coat to demand the members of the statutory bodies also to declare assets. Officers who after retirement occupy important posts should be forced to declare assets before functioning in their respective posts. We request the media to build public pressure so that illegal assets of IAS officers are seized and put to good use.
We hope that the new Chief secretary acts on the above repeatedly raised issues and which are now being talked everywhere in the country. People cannot afford the luxury of corrupt IAS officers swindling their money every hour. The National Women Federation of India would not hesitate staging dharna in front of the houses of notoriously corrupt IAS officers in Karnataka if the new Chief Secretary fails to act immediately.
Jayashree JN K.K.Sumitra
Hon President General Secretary,