The Delhi Lokayukta should revamp all the corruption investigation and prosecution processes so that the corrupt officials are quickly convicted and jailed.
By Rakesh Raman
As Delhi has become the corruption capital of India, the Delhi Government has appointed Justice (Retd.) Harish Chandra Mishra as the anti-corruption authority Lokayukta. He will hold office for a term of 5 years from his date of appointment.
The Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi Anil Baijal administered the oath of office to Mishra as Lokayukta at the swearing-in-ceremony held at Raj Niwas on March 23.
In response to a public interest litigation (PIL), the Delhi Government had told the Delhi High Court in February that the process of appointing a Lokayukta was underway.
The swearing-in ceremony took place in the presence of Delhi chief minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal whose colleagues in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are facing serious corruption charges.
Reports suggest that Delhi’s anti-corruption agency Lokayukta position had been lying vacant since December 2020, and more than 200 corruption cases are pending at the Lokayukta office. Out of these, over 80 cases are against Delhi MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly).
While there are multiple complaints of corruption or misappropriation of public funds against AAP legislators in Delhi, in 2019 the party decided to defy the notice from Lokayukta which had asked AAP MLAs to reveal the details of their assets.
As AAP MLAs had dismissed the notice saying that these are politically motivated cases against them, the details of their assets were never revealed publicly.
Similarly, the Shunglu Committee which was set up to investigate the corruption of the AAP government did not yield any result. A former LG of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, had set up an expert committee – called the Shunglu Committee – to examine over 400 files for financial and administrative irregularities committed by Delhi Government headed by CM Arvind Kejriwal.
While the Shunglu Committee had submitted its report in November 2016, it is stated that the report has found serious cases of fraud, misuse of authority, cheating, and misappropriation of funds in Kejriwal’s government. But the entire case was brushed under the carpet and the findings of the report were not made public.
Since corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are not being held accountable and jailed for their acts of corruption, they believe that corruption is their fundamental right. If you properly investigate the corruption of just two offices – Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government – you will find that there is a huge crowd of officials who are brazenly corrupt. In fact, if you have to imprison just the corrupt DDA and RCS officials, their number would be so large that you will have to build a separate jail for them.
But government officials are not being held accountable for their acts of corruption. Since most anti-corruption agencies in India are complicit in financial crimes, they either ignore the corruption complaints against government functionaries or find excuses to drop the cases after writing some perfunctory copy-paste letters to other departments or the complainants.
Moreover, the investigating officers are so unskilled and almost illiterate that they cannot understand the complaints. As a result, there are inordinate delays in resolving the corruption cases or the culprits never get punished.
Therefore, it will be an uphill task for the new Lokayukta Harish Chandra Mishra to weed out corruption from Delhi where almost every official in every government department is corrupt. He should not succumb to political or top bureaucratic pressure to ignore corruption complaints against government functionaries. The Delhi Lokayukta should also revamp all the corruption investigation and prosecution processes so that the corrupt officials are quickly convicted and jailed.
Administered the oath of office to Mr Justice (Retd.) Harish Chandra Mishra as Lokayukta, Delhi at the swearing-in-ceremony at Raj Niwas. pic.twitter.com/T1FvVOeMIi
— LG Delhi (@LtGovDelhi) March 23, 2022
Justice Harish Chandra Mishra is a retired judge of the Jharkhand High Court. He was also the acting chief justice of Jharkhand High Court.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also runs The Integrity Bulletin news magazine on international corruption cases and issues.
Support RMN News Service for Independent Fearless Journalism
In today’s media world controlled by corporates and politicians, it is extremely difficult for independent editorial voices to survive. Raman Media Network (RMN) News Service has been maintaining editorial freedom and offering objective content for the past more than 12 years despite enormous pressures and extreme threats. In order to serve you fearlessly in this cut-throat world, RMN News Service urges you to support us financially with your donations. You may please click here and choose the amount that you want to donate. Thank You. Rakesh Raman, Editor, RMN News Service.