Crackdown on graft due to president’s rule: Jharkhand officials

Ranchi, Aug 31 ( With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducting raids on the houses of one more Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official in Jharkhand Monday for alleged graft, senior bureaucrats say the crackdown on corruption is thanks to president’s rule in the state.

Officials say the politician-bureaucrat nexus is so deep that no elected government has the will to take on the corrupt.

While the CBI Monday carried out raids at two houses of Pradeep Kumar, who was state health secretary till June, another IAS officer was suspended Aug 25 following CBI searches at his residences. Avinash Kumar was officer on special duty with former Jharkhand governor Syed Sibte Razi,

Both are secretary rank officials and charged with amassing assets worth crores of rupees. Senior IAS officers in the state say corrupt bureaucrats get away because the concerned ministers are often hand-in-glove with them.

“The IAS officials are involved in corruption as concerned department ministers overlook their corrupt practices. On many occasions the political bosses like to have a corrupt official as their secretary,” a secretary rank IAS official told Inditop on condition of anonymity.

“Why was no action taken by any elected government? The raids at two IAS officers’ houses were conducted as Jharkhand is under president’s rule. Everybody in the bureaucratic and political circles knows about the officials involved in corrupt practices. The political bosses instead promote corrupt officials,” he added.

Another secretary ranked IAS official echoed the view. He said: “A nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and contractors has formed in the state. Tenders worth crores of rupees are awarded without floating tenders, violating the rules. If political bosses who are in power have the will, (they) can curb corruption.”

“See the result of the nexus – more than half a dozen politicians who were ministers are facing graft cases and two of them are in jail,” he added.

As per service rules, every IAS officer should declare assets every year, but the government never bothers to enquire about their assets.

“Accountability should be fixed. Any IAS officer can declare assets worth crores. The assets declaration should be substantiated with the source of income. If an IAS official is filing a wrong declaration, then he should be punished,” said another IAS official demanding that he not be named.

Nine IAS officials are facing vigilance probe in Jharkhand but these cases have been pending for anywhere between eight and ten years.

The CBI conducted searches at 13 places in Jharkhand Monday, including Pradeep Kumar’s residences in Ranchi and Daltonganj, informed sources said.

The houses of two health department officials and those of two contractors were also searched by the agency, the sources said.

The state health department was in the eye of storm over allegations of corruption.

When Pradeep Kumar held office, the department had allegedly purchased equipment and vehicles without floating tenders. Medicines were also reportedly purchased at higher rates and there were accusations of fraud in the appointment of around 130 indigenous doctors.