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Dilli Ka Babu

Dilip Cherian | 09th Dec 2012

Transparency may be the buzzword in babudom, but apparently it has not yet reached senior officials in Haryana. It has emerged that a mere 16 out of the current strength of 167 IAS officers in Haryana have revealed the details of their personal assets. What may be embarrassing for Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, among the defaulters are babus considered close to him.

It is mandatory for all IAS officers to give their consent to the government to reveal their property details. Sources say that among the 16 babus who have filed, three deputy commissioners have indicated that they do not hold any property. Perhaps it’s time for Mr Hooda to have a word with the defaulters or risk creating an unhealthy precedent.

In the 1990s, a remarkable initiative by IAS officers in UP in which they formed an “action group” to unmask corrupt babus in their midst met with considerable success. The babus conducted a secret ballot and named the most corrupt officers in the cadre, which was later leaked to the media. That episode led to the identification of two babus who went on to head the state bureaucracy, Neera Yadav and Akhand Pratap Singh. Both were later docked for possessing disproportionate assets.

But corruption seems to be deeply rooted in the state. After that early success, sources say, the enthusiasm to identify and shame corrupt officers waned. In recent years, besides the conviction of Neera Yadav, there are other senior babus who face corruption charges, including such “heavyweights” as former Prasar Bharati chairman B.S. Lalli, Pradeep Shukla, Siddharth Behura and Rajiv Kumar.

Seeing this, apparently a move is under way to revive the “action group” and stem the spread of corruption in the state bureaucracy. Hopefully, this regrouping of IAS officers will lead to some more cleaning up.

Maharashtra has the most IPS officers (some 300 officers) after Uttar Pradesh, and should have, according to the rules, at least 60 of them serving on Central deputation. Instead, the average is a mere 20 officers. For some unknown reason, IPS officers in the state are happier staying back in the state (preferably in Mumbai) than moving to Delhi.

Many who expected this trend to change after Sushilkumar Shinde became the Union home minister are disappointed that Mr Shinde, who hails from Maharashtra, has not done much to increase the number of Maharashtrians in the capital. The reluctance of IPS officers to serve in Delhi has other drawbacks too. No police officer from the state has ever been considered for appointment as director of CBI, RAW or IB.

The simple reason is that none of the IPS officers from the state were empanelled for appointment on Central deputation.

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