Karnataka Lokayukta Drive Sets The Anti-corruption Ball Rolling

Bangalore: | Updated: Jul 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
In the early 80s, when the late prime minister Indira Gandhi described corruption as a universal phenomenon, a section of the intelligentsia felt a sense of outrage. Within a decade, that sense of outrage seems to have given way to a sense of apathy with the word ‘scam’ becoming a part of everyday discourse. That is why when the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi said that out of every Rs 100 spent on development activities, only Re 1 reached the beneficiaries, nobody was surprised. Perhaps it is too early to decipher what the 90s really stood for, but in the context of corruption, the decade saw the unfolding of a series of scams.

Though the new millennium has not brought any respite on this front as yet, there is some hope on the horizon for people in Karnataka, especially in Bangalore. No wonder then, there was a sense of euphoria following the anti-corruption drive launched by Karnataka Loka-yukta Justice N Venkatachala.

Justice Venkatachala began the drive by conducting surprise checks in the regional transport offices (RTOs). The raids proved the obvious; the offices, which were supposed to be dealing with sensitive issues, such as issuing driving licenses, motor vehicle registration etc., were nothing but dens of corruption.

After the RTO offices, Justice Venkatachala turned his attention to the seven city municipal corporations (CMCs) around Bangalore. The result: Scandals worth Rs 240 crore were unearthed. The city municipal corporations were formed to provide civic facilities to people living in and around Bangalore on a par with those available in the city. The raids brought to light the fact that the seven CMCs had drawn crores from the government for creating various facilities and had pocketed the money instead. So in one CMC you have an underground drainage system existing in the official records, while in reality nothing of that sort exists. The same is the case with roads, borewells, water supply schemes, street lights etc.

Meanwhile, chief minister SM Krishna has said that action will be initiated after he gets the full report from the Lokayukta. He also said that the officers involved would be placed under suspension. The scrutiny of the Lokayukta covers the period between 1998 and 2001.