Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Undermining bureaucracy to save corrupt politicians: Is our prime minister a sociopath?

Following report is from Times of India. The irony cannot be more stark. The Prime Minister who presided over all scams is safe. Those officials who wanted to streamline governance are charged with corruption. It will be interesting if a psychologist would study the sociopathic tendencies of our P.M.

Coalgate FIR: Bureaucracy shocked by action against 'honest' officer

NEW DELHI: The irony couldn't be starker. Booked for corruption in a Coalgate case, former coal secretary PC Parakh had strongly protested to the Prime Minister against political interference in the coal ministry.

Sources familiar with events said Parakh, coal secretary in 2004-05, referring to the intrusive role of then minister of state for coal Dasari Narayana Rao, had explained the morale of officials was adversely affected by Rao's actions.

A concerned PM is understood to have assured Parakh that he would speak to officials to reassure them and dissuaded the senior bureaucrat from putting in his papers.

On Tuesday, as word of the CBI filing a case against Parakh spread, officials were shaking their heads in disbelief. While serving officers would not go on record, former power secretary E A S Sarma told ToI, "It is indeed a sad commentary for an FIR being filed against an upright and honest officer like P C Parakh."

Sarma added that he is waiting for action against PMO for its role in Coalgate. "I made a formal complaint to CVC last year and earlier that PMO's role in Coalgate and other scams should be investigated. I do not find any visible action on that complaint so far," he said.

Sarma said there are senior politicians involved in Coalgate and none has so far been proceeded against. Proceeding against honest officers and letting off dishonest politicians will only erode the credibility of the government.

Furious emails were exchanged as bureaucrats recalled that Parakh had first blown the whistle on a likely scandal in coal block allocations by warning in July 2004 that award of captive coal blocks could result in "windfall profits" for benefitted corporates.

Just like Pararkh, his predecessor in the coal ministry H C Gupta is also facing an investigation. Gupta strongly amplified Parakh's warnings, saying in a meeting held in PMO on April 7, 2006, that there is no legal basis for allocation of coal blocks by a screening committee.

The case of Shyamal Ghosh, a former telecom secretary, is also spoken of among officials as being made a victim of political score settling between the UPA government and BJP. Ghosh has been booked in a case relating to fees being waived off when the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan was telecom minister.

Officials point to demoralization in the bureaucracy due to alleged witch hunts. "An honest officer under investigation for no fault of his feels diminished. The crooks don't get caught, but the diligent officer feels double the distress," said a bureaucrat.

He said Parakh has been targeted while "others are not being proceeded against. I understand that he was the one who put his foot down on the first-come-first-served method of coal block allocation and expressed himself firmly in favour of a transparent, auction system. He was overruled."

Sarma said there are senior politicians involved in coalgate and none has so far been proceeded against. Proceeding against honest officers and letting off dishonest politicians, corporates and officers will only erode the credibility of the government which has diminished a great deal during the recent times.

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