Cleansing the surface
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Details of the alleged unaccounted income that become public after raids by the Lokayukta Police on junior government employees in Madhya Pradesh are usually eye-popping.
Supervisors, sub-engineers, schoolteachers, peons — the lower they are in the hierarchy the more wealthy they seem. Scores of them have drawn the attention of the anti-corruption watchdog over the last few months in a state still identified as economically backward.
The question invariably asked is: if those without any real authority like signing files make so much money, what about their bosses?
The headline-grabbing raids haven't led to unearthing any scam or to the source of tainted money, let alone targeting senior officers, without whose collusion it would be impossible for juniors to operate.
The opposition usually slams the raids as an eyewash, saying no officer above the rank of a deputy collector has been visited by the Lokayukta. IAS couple Arvind and Tinu Joshi are the only exceptions, and they came under the scanner only after Income Tax raids.
Lokayukta officials say they find it difficult to zero in on senior bureaucrats because they are smart enough to not leave a trail of their wrongdoing unlike the juniors whose flashy lifestyles catch attention.
When Bihar was hogging the limelight by seizing "tainted properties" and using them for public purposes such as running schools, MP was getting restless. A legislation that would have allowed it to follow suit was stuck at the Centre.
It has been eight months since a more stringent law came into effect in MP but not one tainted property has been seized, although a few have been identified.
The government's claim that it was serious about rooting out corruption has not found many takers because there has been a conspicuous rise in the wealth of BJP leaders, some of whom hold office, during the nine years the party has been in power.
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