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Hardly one per cent of corruption gets reported, says Vigilance Director

Staff Reporter

`Still, number of pending cases high'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) director, Upendra Verma, on Thursday, said that hardly one per cent of the corruption in the State gets reported to the Vigilance Department.

The pendency of cases at the VACB was quite high despite the low level of reporting of corrupt practices and instances, he added. Mr. Verma was speaking at the annual conference of Vigilance Officers of Government Departments, Public Sector Undertakings and officers of the VACB here.

Corruption had become a part of daily life, whether it was for getting a water supply connection or avoiding punishment after committing a traffic offence, he said. The public had started accepting corruption as the norm and the mindset had to change. According to a recent study by the Transparency International, India ranks 91st among the 145 countries perceived as most corrupt, he said.

Checking corruption

Surprise checks conducted by the VACB had proven to be effective in checking corruption, Mr. Verma said. Such checks have instilled a sense of fear and also helped garner public support against corruption.

The VACB alone could not fight corruption and Vigilance officers of Government departments as well as Public Sector Undertakings should conduct surprise checks and ensure that their departments were rid of the menace, he said.

The Chief Secretary, Palat Mohandas, said that he wanted to "slightly depart" from what Mr. Verma said about the Vigilance Department instilling fear. "Fear is induced from outside. But respect comes from the heart. The Vigilance Department should instil respect not fear," he said.

One could not get allegiance, obedience and support by instilling fear, Mr. Mohandas said. "You cannot get anything done by inducing fear. There will be far more compliance to norms if there is respect involved," he added. The Chief Secretary said that there had been instances where Vigilance was used as a weapon to settle scores.

The Government was not functioning in a "vacuum." There was peer assessment in all departments. Instead of going round in circles looking for "red herrings," the Vigilance should have a clear assessment of things.

Mervin Alexander, Chief Vigilance Officer, Kochi Shipyard and Port and ADGPs, Vigilance, Siby Mathew and Arvind Ranjan also spoke at the conference. The DGP, Raman Sreevastava; ADGP, Operations, Rajan Medhekar; ADGP, Intelligence, Ramesh Chandrabhanu; ADGP, Prisons, M.G.A. Raman; IG, South Zone, Sen Kumar. IG, KSEB Vigilance; Rishiraj Singh and DIG; Arun Kumar Sinha, were among those present at the conference.

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