Rein In Corrupt Politicians, Azad Tells Vigilance
7 July 2007
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday asked the State Vigilance Organisation to take action on corrupt politicians as the State Accountability Commission set up for the purpose had failed to deliver. Inaugurating a one-day conference of Departmental Vigilance Officers, organised by State Vigilance Organisation (SVO), Mr. Azad said that it was time for this anti- corruption body to take on politicians who were involved in corruption. 'We had set up Accountability Commission but that could not do much and failed to deliver,' he said adding 'either all the politicians in the State are clean or the vigilance organisation has no interest in taking up cases against them.' He said that corruption was not possible without a deep nexus between politicians and officials. Preventive action However, Mr. Azad who began his tenure as Chief Minister with a slogan 'Jihad against Corruption', advised the SVO to stress upon preventive rather than punitive action against the corrupt officials. 'I am not for witch-hunting but those indulging in corruption should not be spared,' he said adding 'but the stress should be on preventive action. If someone is ready to come back on the right path, he should be given a chance.' He admitted that much talk about corruption and action by SVO had hampered the development as officials had taken this as an excuse. 'This should not happen. SVO will do its work; you do your work,' he told the officers. Mr. Azad said that above board integrity of Vigilance Commissioner Ashok Bhan, who heads the SVO, was not enough as other officers shall have to emulate him. The Chief Minister said that the concept of Departmental Vigilance Officers needed to be institutionalised. Mr. Azad, who gave certificates of appreciation to five such officers, said that from the current year, 15 Gold Medals would be awarded to those officers who would have exemplary contribution in infrastructure building. 'The State,' he said, 'is already giving Gold Medals to honest officers.' Quality improvement Chief Secretary C. Phonsog said on the occasion that quality of investigation by the SVO had improved and many measures were under way to modernise the organisation. Dr. Bhan gave detailed account of the work done by SVO in the previous year. He said with the amendments in corruption law, property of nine officers was attached. Out of 208 cases registered, investigation in 116 had been completed. The government, he said, had sanctioned prosecution in 125 out of 175 cases referred to it by the SVO.