Hyderabad : The raid against Keesara tehsildar Erva Balraju Nagaraju turned out to be the biggest catch for Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) after they recovered 1.10 crore cash from a guest house.
However, tainted tehsildar is not new to the graft cases . In 2011, ACB carried out searches and unearthed properties to the tune of Rs 1.50 crore amassed through an illegal source of income. The man was booked under a disproportionate assets case. He escaped prosecution but was caught 5 years later. This is not stand alone case in Telangana to prove how tainted officials slip away from punishment and continue their service, despite investigating agencies like ACB and Vigilance and Enforcement doing their job.
According to RTI response, in the last 6 years between 2014 and 2020, Vigilance and Enforcement department conducted inquiries into 660 cases across various government departments and sent reports of the same to the respective departments, but final action is pending. Likewise, it raised the flag of possible corruption by issuing 722 alert notes.
Speaking to NewsMeter, Retired IFS officer M Padmanabha Reddy, who filed the RTI said, ” Officials working with Revenue and Municipal Administration are highly corrupt doing by the V & E reports and traps laid by the Anti-Corruption Bureau. The RTI response reveals that the Director-General of the department after detailed inquiry send the reports to the government for suitable action. However response from the government is awaited. This attitude will encourage corruption”.
Role of Vigilance and Enforcement Department
The purpose of constituting a Vigilance and Enforcement department in the state is to inquire into misconduct of government employees involving graft issues. The department headed by a Senior IPS officer of Director-General rank and two directors raise an alarm in form of ‘alert notices’ about possible irregularities. Besides this, it also takes up appraisal of activities and sends reports to the government.
Once the parent department in the Secretariat receives these reports or alert notices, it is sent to the respective department seeking explanation or action taken.
“Unfortunately at the Head-of-Department level, the alert notes or inquiry report receives little to no attention and is dragged for years. At the Secretariat level the file is shown pending for want of Action-taken-report. Since the formation of Telangana state, there is no progress in disposal of V & E Cases. The delay give scope for tainted officials to escape from prosecution’ added M Padmanabha Reddy, Secretary of Forum for Good Governance’.
Table: Top ten department that received highest alert notes from Vigilance and Enforcement department between 2014 and 2020/h3>
1.Revenue department: 261
2. Labour Employment Training and Factories Department: 101
3.Municipal Administration and Urban Development: 87
4.Environment Forest and Science: 58
5.Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs: 54
6.PR & RD and Agriculture: 52 (Each)
7.Health,Medical & Family Welfare Dept: 20
9.Irrigation and CAD Department: 15
10. Education: 11
Note: In total, the Vigilance and Enforcement agency alerted the government 722 times of possible irregularities. The RTI, however does not specify how many times the government responded to the alert notice.
Table: Top ten departments in Telangana against whom V & E conducted inquiry and sent them a report
1.Municipal Administration and Urban Development: 139
2.Revenue CCT – 80
3.PR & RD: 79
4.Agriculture & Corp : 61
5.Irrigation and CAD Department: 52
6.Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs: 43
7.Environment Forest and Science: 40
8.Health,Medical & Family Welfare Dept: 34
10.Energy : 15