Chandigarh: In the past nine years, nearly 800 government employees of Punjab including 125 senior gazetted officers have shamed the state as they were all caught indulging in corrupt practices, mostly red-handed, on different occasions. They were all trapped by the state’s own Vigilance Bureau, part of the state police. While nabbing these ‘corrupt’ public servants, vigilance sleuths also seized the currency notes worth Rs 1.31 crore from the spot to establish the charges.
According to information procured from the state Vigilance Bureau, as many as 772 government officials were held between March 1, 2007 and May 31, 2016. The number of registered cases is, however, bigger than the arrests as the official data speak about the registration of 1,194 FIRs under the Prevention of Corruption Act, during the period. The maximum FIRs were registered in Patiala range of the Vigilance Bureau where 260 such cases were registered followed by 245 cases in Amritsar range.
The Vigilance Bureau registered 161 FIRs in Jalandhar range, 158 in Ludhiana range, 138 in Bathinda range, 121 in Ferozepur and 100 FIRs were registered by the Flying Squad-I of the department. The maximum number of FIRs in the past nine years was registered in 2008 when different police stations of Vigilance Bureau recorded 260 such cases. Vigilance Bureau documents reveal that depending upon their stature the ‘corrupt’ gazetted officers have been caught red-handed while accepting the bribe ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 20 lakh.
The details show that one Amarjit Singh Dhaliwal, then Superintendent, posted in the office of Commissioner, Central Excise and Service Tax, Ludhiana, was nabbed in a case involving bribe Rs 20 lakh cash on October 20, 2014. The list of gazetted officers held on the charges of accepting bribe also carries the name of Santosh Kumar Gupta, then Deputy Director Animal Husbandry Department, Sangrur, who was reportedly held while accepting Rs 800 cash as bribe on August 5, 2008. The case was registered at Patiala police station of Vigilance Bureau. Irrespective of the current legal status of all such corruption cases, the official files of the Vigilance Bureau speak that one Baldev Singh, then Registrar, Punjabi University, Patiala, was nabbed with cash worth Rs 1 lakh on August 6, 2007. Further, Vijay Kumar Janjua (IAS), then Director, Industries, Punjab was also nabbed in November 2009 in a case involving bribe worth Rs 2 lakh.
Further, among those gazetted officers nabbed with bribe money in lakhs, the name of Jaipal Singh, then Pathankot Municipal Commissioner, is also included. He was held in 2012 in a case of bribe worth Rs 2.5 lakh. One Jaswinder Pal Singh, then Executive Engineer, PSPCL, posted at Batala, was held with cash Rs 1 lakh. Besides, Kamalpreet Singh Dhariwal, then District Manager, Markfed, Ludhiana, was reportedly nabbed with bribe money worth Rs 1 lakh on September 21, 2013. One Banke Bihari, then ATP (Zone C) Municipal Corporation Ludhiana was held with Rs 1 lakh on August 12, 2014.
Deputy CM Speaks
Corruption is a national problem. It can’t be checked by having Lokpal or some other institutions. While the Vigilance Bureau in Punjab is doing its job, having realised the need of the hour we have also launched multiple governance reforms, which is the only way to check this menace. After opening Farad Kendra and Sanjh Kendra, we are now opening Sewa Kendra at the door steps of the citizens, which will snap the direct contact of common man with the ‘babus’. It will weed out corruption besides enhancing efficiency of administration and delivery of services to common man.
CORRUPTION KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES
Interestingly, corruption has no boundaries as the Vigilance Bureau details show that the menace has hardly spared people from any field. Further, it is also pertinent to mention that apart from these 772 cases reported till May 31 this year, many more government officials have been held red-handed in the state, including SHO Kotbhai Kuldeep Singh who was arrested with Rs 50,000 few days back. And also, hundreds of others including some IAS, IPS, PCS and PPS officers were also booked by different other agencies for them being allegedly involved in corrupt practices.
COPS IN VB NET
In the list of senior policemen held with bribe Sukhwant Singh Gill, then Superintendent of Police (City Mohali) was booked in 2009 when he was held red-handed with a bribe amount to the tune of Rs 2 lakh. Randhir Singh Uppal, then SP (D), Hoshiarpur, Varinderpreet Singh, then DSP Batala and Baldev Singh Chauhan, then DSP Focal Point, Ludhiana have also been shown held with bribe money to the tune of Rs 50,000, Rs 40,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively.
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