A compact version with recent developments will be put here shortly.
I want to share the experience about my husband's fight against corruption in public interest which is disliked by many senior officers including the Chief Secretary. I also want to share the problems he is facing because of this. My husband has documented each and every effort made and problems faced. Instead of encouraging his efforts to fight corruption, he has been harassed while the senior IAS officers against whom he had reported as indulging in corrupt practices have been protected. My husband made many requests to the Chief Secretary in writing to discuss the serious issues of corruption by senior officers involving crores of rupees (most of it by three IAS officers working in the power sector and one of them is the brother of the just retired Chief Secretary) but so far he has not been given a single opportunity. He met the Governor of Karnataka and the Lokayukta and briefed them about his efforts and the harassment meted out to him. He has continuously kept the Governor and the Lokayukta informed about his efforts and harassments in writing. The Lokayukta informed my husband that he could not take action suo-moto, as he has no power and informed that he would take action only if there is a complaint. In view of the various restrictions he could not file the complaint. Because of this I decided to file a complaint against the just retired Chief Secretary for indulging in corrupt practices. I filed the complaint on 28/12/06 in public interest. Before filing the complaint, I used the Right to Information Act to bring out the highly discriminatory attitude of the Chief Secretary in respect of my husband for having reported the corrupt practices of the senior officers. This may be the first of its kind in the country. Even here the concerned Department suppressed and distorted the facts while giving information and I have complained to the Information Commission (Case No. KIC 1291 COM 2006. In fact the nature of complaint is such that the Chief Information Commissioner has advised me to approach the High Court, as he himself is a witness to some of the issues raised by my husband). In the past also my husband had complained about corrupt practices but no Chief Secretary had harassed him for complaining even though in those days it was difficult to get information formally. In fact my husband was supported by the Chief Secretaries in the past and none of them took my husbands actions as indiscipline. Now with the Right to Information Act things have definitely improved but unfortunately there is no support from the senior officers. In the past Chief Secretaries themselves would hold high level meetings to discuss issues about corruption. Unfortunately today, in spite of my husband asking the corruption issues he has raised to be discussed in a forum suggested by the Cabinet Secretary, Government of India, the same has been deliberately not done so far. In this connection I have already sought information under the Right to Information Act.
The harassment of my husband has not stopped till today and has been done in many ways. The new Chief Secretary has become the Chief Secretary by superceding many senior officers and because of his various compulsions, is against supporting my husband in his fight against corruption. My husband in one of his letters has clearly informed him that only a person with high moral and ethical values can support him. My husband is very determined in spite of many threats and not getting any support from the Government. He in fact has informed the Chief Secretary that if he is given a week time to work in the DPAR , he would come out with at least 10 serious cases of corruption suppressed by the DPAR. It is in this context, one should understand the seriousness of the speech made by Sri T.N.Chaturvedi, the Governor of Karnataka on the Republic Day giving the grim picture of corruption in Karnataka. It did not surprise any person when Karnataka was branded the fourth most corrupt state in the country. From September 2006 to June 2007 my husband has been transferred seven times in tenmonths, each time for reporting serious corrupt practices by senior officers.
Recently after he took charge as Regional Commssioner, Bangalore (but transferred within 20 days after posting) he introduced a system using the provisions of the Right to Information Act in an innovative way, where in public are allowed to see files without making any application between 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm on every second and fourth tuesday of every month.He also planned to make web viewing of the file. These developments threatned many and he was transferred just 3 days before launch of the program . however, his efforts have been widelky reported and it is hoped that citizens will demand for its operation.You can visit the related website here
Sri T.N.Chutarvedi, Governor of Karnataka gave a repeated wake up and warning call to the people of Karnataka about the rampant corruption destroying the very foundation of democracy. He has said that all right thinking administrators would see the Right to Information Act as a tool for better administration. He also stressed on the need to have a zero tolerance policy on all acts of corruption. He has specifically stressed on the need to encourage honest people so that the corrupt do not thrive and that the guilty get punished. He wants the corruption to be attacked at the source. It is also to be recalled that the Governor made severe comments about the corrupt state of affairs when he jointly addressed the Legislators in September 2006 in Belgaum. But things have become worse, as can be made out from the even more severe remarks of the Governor made on the Republic Day.
I want the authorities like Lokayukta to act quickly, particularly when I have lodged complaint with Lokayukta to take up investigation of various issues raised by husband and available with the Chief Secretary. My husband has not been encouraged but harassed. In fact the persons against whom my husband complained were allowed to continue, mostly to enable them to tamper or destroy evidence my husband had indicated to the Chief Secretary over the last 8 months period. On the other hand my husband was transferred to see to it that it becomes difficult for him to pursue the serious corrupt practices of senior officers. The harassment by the Chief Secretary by transferring him to a post not given to an officer of his Grade- Principal Secretary is what forced me to take up the issues myself. I tried to raise the support of other honest officers’ wives and even created a web site for that purpose. But unfortunately I found honest wives are rarer than honest officers. I request all those who are interested to know the exact details, to get copies of my husband’s letters addressed to the Chief Secretary since 1/6/06 using the Right to Information Act. There are many other serious facts which my husband has reported to the Chief Secretary and the Governor. My husband has given his consent to the Chief Secretary to provide copies of his letters to any persons who seek information under the Right to Information Act. Information so obtained should be used to take up further action in public interest. Details of information sought by me so far under the Right to information act in respect of various things are given here.
Recently there was a report about the officials of the Bangalore city Corporation having huge assets and they gave their defense stating that IAS officers have properties in Singapore! In fact my husband is the first IAS officer to declare his assets to the Lokayukta and there are only two other officers in the state who have declared their assets, when the total number of IAS officers in the state exceeds 200. Justice Venkatachala, former Lokayukta, has reacted about the Government not giving assets and liabilities statement to the present Lokayukta and has asked the citizens to use the Right to Information Act and get these details. I have already sought the assets and liabilities details, under the Right to Information Act, of one of the officers who is behind denying the information.
In this context it is important to get the assets and liabilities statements of the Navaratnas who are given the responsibilities of the major projects under the Greater Bangalore Program. If this is not done, tax payers’ money instead of being used to make Bangalore another Singapore might get itself invested in Singapore by some of these officers or tax payers’ money may literally be held by some of these officers in the form of navarathnas (diamonds and precious stones). There should be immediately a public declaration of assets held by all the IAS officers of Karnataka. There should be a public movement to force any person who is given huge project to declare their assets otherwise public funds will be in unsafe hands. The assets would be within and outside Karnataka including other countries. By seizing ill-gotten properties held by some of these officers, government is going to get substantial money to take up major projects of Greater Bangalore and there may not be any need to raise funds for these purposes. This will be much easier to do than recovering encroached government land in Bangalore. The state would both gain money and get rid of the corrupt in one shot. In fact my husband had given suggestions to the Central Administrative Reforms Commission to ban giving post retirement jobs to retired bureaucrats and also to make recommendation to ratify the already signed United Nations convention against Corruption, so that by bilateral arrangements, properties held and money kept in foreign countries by the corrupt officers can be recovered.
So far, I have made more than 20 applications under the Right to Information Act, in public interest, to get information to explicitly bring out the way the corrupt are shielded. My husband is repeatedly asking for protection. The Government of India has come out with a Public Services Bill which also ensures protection to the Whistle blowers. There is an urgent need to mobilize public awareness to force the Government to enact this immediately. Government should not wait for another Sri Manjunath or Sri Dubey type of tragedy to happen. I have put all that in a web site with the intention of making known the efforts of my husband and to seek support from various individuals, experts and the NGOs.
I again request all like minded people to give all possible support at the earliest and also take up issues raised by my husband. I request at least a few legislators who are really interested in the welfare of Karnataka also take up the issues raised by my husband. Citizens should wake up to the warning given by the Governor as he has stated that corruption is the real danger and can destroy our democratic system itself.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for a few good men to do nothing