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Visitors are not allowed: Investigators are coming

Babus in public offices sit by the pile of files catching dust. Because, the Babus are busy with drinking tea, chewing beetle-leaf, reading newspapers and gossiping with colleagues. This is the general profile of public offices in South Asia.

Public offices are neither zoo nor theme park. Yet a notice hangs at the Babu’s door saying, “Visitors are not allowed.” The question is: who on God’s earth wants to “Visit” a Babu? The answer is: only the disgruntled citizens having issued long pending with the Babus. The file only moves if the Babu is bribed. And the helpless citizens have no one to complain.

Not anymore in the State of Maharashtra, India. Instead of waiting for complaints to be lodged, the Anticorruption Bureau (ACB) has decided to hunt down the crooks in public offices through undercover operatives. Because, it hardly receives any complaint in the first place. Mr. Praveen Dixit, Maharashtra’s new chief of ACB, explains:

“Common man is afraid to approach an agency like ours. They have their own conceptions and misconceptions about the ACB. We need to bridge that gap. Instead of waiting for people to approach us and file complaints, we have decided to reach out to them,” he said.

The undercover crime-busting officials of ACB identify and convince the victims to formally press charge against a crook Babu. And it’s working:

On Tuesday, regional traffic office clerk Rajesh Shankar Nevrekar and his conduit were arrested by the ACB while accepting a bribe of Rs 1800 from a tourist operator in Andheri. An under-cover ACB investigator had first noticed this tourist operator being harassed by the RTO clerk sometime in November.

“The clerk had demanded Rs 2,000 from the tourist operator, who was caught on November 18 for a running vehicle with an expired permit. He came to the clerk with Rs 1800, which is Rs 200 short of the sum demanded, and got an earful. That’s when our investigator noticed and started pursuing the case,” said a senior ACB official.

After gathering all the evidence, the investigator approached the tourist operator and convinced him to file a complaint. A trap was laid on Tuesday and the RTO clerk and his agent Ghanshyam Gumare were nabbed red-handed.

Law never works unless the leadership owns it. Kudos to Mr. Praveen Dixit. Read the full report.

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