Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024 | Last Update : 11:13 PM IST

  Life   More Features  08 Jul 2019  Abuse of power

Abuse of power

THE ASIAN AGE. | VIKRAM SHARMA
Published : Jul 9, 2019, 12:02 am IST
Updated : Jul 9, 2019, 1:10 am IST

For years, bureaucrats have had to deal with such high-handed antics of powerful politicos.

Congress MLA Nitesh Narayan Rane and his supporters smearing an engineer with muck
 Congress MLA Nitesh Narayan Rane and his supporters smearing an engineer with muck

Bureaucrats and government officials have a tough time when confronted with high-handed politicians who throw their weight around. Senior IAS and IPS officers share with us the dismal state of affairs in the country even as they believe there’s still time to turn things around.

About 30 years ago, when a young IPS officer Vivek Dube took over as Superintendent of Police of a district, a senior political functionary frequently used him to find out which sub-inspector would be posted as Station House Officer (SHO) in his jurisdiction. Dube would diplomatically assure him that a competent SI would be put up for the job. But the politico wasn’t easily swayed. He wanted a dependable hand who would assist in getting his party workers off the hook, many of whom were routinely detained in cases.

For years, bureaucrats have had to deal with such high-handed antics of powerful politicos. The recent instances of TRS MLA’s brother mercilessly attacking forest range officer C. Anita, BJP MLA Akash Vijayavargiya beating a government employee with a bat and most recently, Congress MLA Nitesh Narayan Rane and his supporters smearing an engineer with muck — are all just the tip of the iceberg. At senior levels, both IAS and IPS officers are compelled to face such situations often. While most of them succumb to the pressure, a few show courage by standing up against them.

“In my entire career, I have done what was ethically, legally and professionally correct. Even if someone tried to suggest anything against the call of my conscience, I used to politely brush it aside. High integrity and absolute honesty always came to my rescue,” says Vivek Dube, who has held key posts in CBI, CRPF and was even appointed as the Special Observer by the Election Commission of India and was given charge of sensitive states such as West Bengal.

There have been several instances when the top brass has come under pressure from the MLAs of the ruling party.

BJP MLA Akash Vijayavargiya beating a government employee with a batBJP MLA Akash Vijayavargiya beating a government employee with a bat

“I still remember the sensational attack on Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen in August 2007. She was attacked by MIM MLAs and their supporters in full public view in Hyderabad Press club. Till evening, cases were not registered against the attackers on the pretext of taking a legal opinion. This was just to buy time and figure out ways to wriggle out of the situation. Finally, due to tremendous political pressure cases were registered but all attackers got bail immediately,” says an officer who was a part of the investigation back then.

IAS officers too have to face their share of political pressure, and on a much larger scale. “It is due to pressure by politicians that IAS officers land in jail (B.P. Acharya arrested in Emaar scam and Y Srilakshmi arrested in Obulapuram illegal mining case). Had there been no political pressure, they would not have been in jail. I feel it is all about individuals, whether they want to succumb for their own benefits or have the courage to refuse the politicians,” says a senior IAS officer, requesting anonymity.

When incidents of politicians misusing their power come to the fore, the general public ends up taking the moral high ground. “They don’t know the kind of pressure bureaucrats face everyday and one wrong move can end up putting us in serious trouble. I don’t think the MLAs are going to change. It is the bureaucrats who have to learn to say no to the netas. But the question is how many can do it?” asks the IAS officer.

TRS MLA’s brother mercilessly attacking forest range officer C. AnitaTRS MLA’s brother mercilessly attacking forest range officer C. Anita

Also, there are instances when officers take the help of politicians for their postings. Which is wrong. Said a senior police officer, presently serving in key posts, “Whenever there are transfers and postings of DSP and Inspector rank police officers, most of them go and fall at the feet of the MLA, who either takes money or needs an assurance that the favour will be returned according to his needs. I also get calls from many MLAs asking me to post a particular officer at a specific post,” he says, adding that people in senior ranks catch hold of MPs or MLAs to get postings of their choice.

In such cases, they are expected to toe the line of the politician.

Tags: akash vijayvargiya, nitesh narayan rane