Bundles of Corruption
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Bundles of Corruption

March 4, 2023

Yesterday we all saw bundles and bundles of cash being arranged by Lokayukta Police. They found these bundles of money at Prashanth V. ‘Bundle’s’ ..oops! I meant Prashanth V. Maadal’s residence, a Karnataka State Audit and Accounts Services Officer. He is the son of BJP MLA K. Maadal Virupakshappa.

 As I watched this, I was reminded of a promise — ‘na khaunga na khane dunga’ — a promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the context of corruption. It literally means, “I will not eat nor allow others to eat.”

 When a PM, who seems to be in control of his party and its cadre says, “I will not be corrupt, nor will I allow others to be corrupt”, as a citizen, you feel immense hope…but in Karnataka, we have lost all hopes.

 The citizens of Karnataka, especially urban Karnataka, have been feeling the pain of corruption everywhere — from the local City Council to the Vidhana Soudha, From a Police Constable to a clerk in the BESCOM Office.

 Just this morning, a BESCOM engineer was caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs.20,000. She was taking a bribe to move an electrical pole from inside a citizen’s house premises!

 First, why should a public property, an electrical pole, be inside a private property? Isn’t that BESCOM’s fault to begin with? Despite it being BESCOM’s fault, this private citizen had to pay a bribe to get it removed?!

 Corruption has always been an issue in Karnataka. A survey conducted by Transparency International in 2019 stated that Karnataka was the 7th most corrupt State in India! It reported that 63 percent of residents in Karnataka admitted to paying a bribe to get official work done.

 A 2017 study by the Centre for Media Studies reported that 77 percent of people in Karnataka had faced corruption while availing of public services. Interestingly just two days ago, the BJP Government decided to give a 17 percent increment to public employees. 

 The employees of public services have put forward their demands, including implementing the 7th Pay Commission report and reverting to the Old Pension Scheme. Who pays for this? Taxpayer. But have they served the taxpayer honestly? Will corruption in public services come down now that they have a hike?

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 In 2010, the then CM H. D. Kumaraswamy, with tears in his eyes, asked: “There are many people who talk about corruption at the higher levels. But who is there to address the issue of corruption at the lower levels?”

 As if the Chief Minister didn’t know that corruption at the higher level facilitates crime at the lower level.

 It is an open secret that many lower-level officers are corrupt because they have paid money at higher levels to get lucrative postings, and they need to be corrupt to get back the money they have invested.

 All Karnataka Governments have been corrupt for a while now. Be it BJP, Congress or JD(S). That is why this morning, responding to the comments of KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar related to the Lokayukta raid on the residence of BJP MLA Maadal Virupakshappa, former BJP Minister                                   K.S. Eshwarappa said, “Whoever is involved in corruption will go to jail after investigation. We need not reply to someone who has returned from jail and is on bail. Everyone has seen the bundles of money found at Shivakumar’s residence during the raids by Central agencies.”

 He then added, “Justice Kempanna’s report has revealed Rs. 8,000 crore corruption in the denotification of Arkavathy land. Siddharamaiah is sure to go to jail in that case.”

 Moving on to the statement of former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy that more than 10 to 15 jails are needed to fill those in BJP, Eshwarappa said, “Even 50 jails would not be enough to fill those in the JD(S) if an investigation is done.”

 The question is that Eshwarappa’s Government is in power now, so why doesn’t he investigate? He will not. No one will. There will be no investigation because they are all “buddies” who scratch each other’s backs while the taxpayer is left itching for a corruption-free Karnataka. That is why they do nothing to sharpen the teeth of Lokayukta.

 In the case of Prashanth Maadal, he should be dismissed immediately, but instead of dismissing the officer from duty, Section 19 in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is applied. This Section states that the Lokayukta cannot proceed against an offender unless the Government approves it. Do you think the Government will authorise prosecuting a person feeding the system (rulers)? In this case, whose father happens to be an MLA in the ruling Government?

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 This “Government permission” came into the Prevention of Corruption Act only in 1988. Probably because before 1988, the perception was that only very junior-level Government employees were corrupt. So who cares. But once the big babus and their political God-fathers started getting caught, this “need Government’s permission” clause was added to protect themselves. 

The Lokayukta is useless. It only fixes the symptom but never the problem. It is a diagnostic centre which pretends to be a hospital that can cure the disease that is eating this country from the inside — corruption. 

Speaking of the disease eating us from the inside, what about us, the people?

 If one asks who is responsible for the corrosion of political morality? The answer is — we, the people. A political class such as ours can exist and thrive only in the presence of a characterless electorate.

 We constantly blame illiteracy and poverty for our decadent democracy. The truth is a corrupt voter begets a corrupt politician. A voter taking  Rs. 1,000 with either a saree or a bottle of liquor does not have to be a graduate to determine that it is a bribe. They also need not have a Master’s degree to know that the politician will reimburse himself that cost from the “people’s treasury” once he comes to power.

 We will have characterless leaders and corruption as long as there is a characterless and corrupt electorate. So, can we expect change? No, not anytime soon.

 Meanwhile, when the PM comes to Karnataka, he has to face the question of whether he kept his promise of ‘na khaunga na khane dunga.’ He might not have been corrupt, but his party in Karnataka has been. He has to address these issues and make changes else the senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s joke will ring true. Tharoor had mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘na khaunga na khane dunga’ promise, saying probably “he was only talking about beef.”

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11 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Bundles of Corruption”

  1. boregowda says:

    Number 7, thought Karnataka should be number uno in corruption list with 40 percent cut, and last in the development list!!!

  2. Suresh says:

    Agree. We have lost all hopes! All three political parties in Karnataka are corrupt. In front of media they speak against each other but behind they all are friends.

  3. Pramod says:

    It is shocking to see praises being heaped upon BSY by PM and HM in order to get support of a particular caste. People haven’t forgotten the 5 years of misrule during BJP’s first government in Karnataka. Almost every month there used to be a new controversy. Who can forget the mining scam and the Operation Lotus. It is a matter of shame that horse trading of MLAs was a given an official name as “Operation Lotus”. And this “Operation Lotus” is now being emulated in many other states. It also shameful that such a thing originated in Karnataka. It seems BJP government in Karnataka is laidback thinking Modi can win them the election irrespective of their governance record. It’s high time the central leaderships cracks the whip on its state ministers for their poor performance or else PM’s “na khaunga na khane dunga” will ring hollow.

  4. swamy says:

    Why PM keeps coming to Karnataka when his party men are indulging in corruption? What kind of face he has? Why public has to go through this mockery called election to keep electing corrupt politicians?

    Indian democracy is called hypocrisy.

  5. Bengaluru Loknath says:

    Hello Vikram
    Just read your father Mr Ganapathy’s article which appears below your column titled:’ ‘Musings On Election And Universal Adult Franchise’, where your father eulogises the BJP , its leadership, and recommends people vote for the BJP!
    While politicians became corrupt in India just 5 years after independence, when Kengal Hanumanthaiah swindled crores of Rupees, by awarding the contracts to his friends , for the construction of the Vidhana Soudha. Nijalingappa pocked further crores of Rupees by agreeing to locate industries like the BEL, NMT, and TI at the outskirts of Bangalore, so that the officials in these industries mostly non -Kannadigas- Tamils , Malayalees and Andhurudus, could live in Bangalore city. This destroyed Bangalore totally.
    the culture of corruption and the means to make swift money became evident in 1980s, when others aside from politicians joined in !
    The corrupt practices of the so called IT giants like Infosys and Wipro bribing the politicians to get green field sites for their companies , and these companies employed cheap IT labour through IT techies to do the outsourced work from foreign companies-software coding mainly, and their CEOs became very very rich.
    This new IT billionaires and the greed they created means every one wants to become rich like them. I would not call these founders of IT tech companies as upright citizens-they used skull duggery to become rich Infosys Murty bought luxury apartments, in the USA and London for his daughter and son; bought admissions for their courses in the USA. His cash made his son-in-law a MP in Britain getting the support necessary so that he became the PM of Britain; his wife the daughter of Murty was seen recently walking to her daughters’ expensive private school in London wearing a footwear which costs 600 m GBP! She is rumoured to enjoy an expensive bottle of whiskey every time too-the daughter of the so called upright Murty, whose wife Sudha Murthy dishes advice every time! This government of his son in law, practising Indian politics, is expected to be looking at a massive defeat in the next year’s election in Britain, giving landslide victory to the Labour Party.
    The Indians today , want to be very rich whatever the means required.
    The congress politicians had been corrupt, not in the scale of this BJP politicians. It is not politics alone which is corrupt today in India. Every institution, every official and every citizen too.
    This particular ‘bundles of corruption’ has just come out, but there are others involving more money, some with large amounts of USDs and Euros stay hidden.
    Your Modi government secured the purchase of the Rafale jet fighters from France, using Ambani as the middleman, who bribed French officials to secure the deal! Just wait until Modi retires, and see how his corrupt stories come out! Already Amrit Shah’s son Jay Shah, in Gujarat is amassing wealth as he controls that State-he is not even a MLA there.
    This is independent India today-corrupt politics, corrupt institutions and corrupt society. In Western countries, a corrupt government will lose in elections, because the societies are clean. In India, a corrupt BJP government is voted back in elections by the corrupt society

  6. John says:

    Hundreds of times over the years the investigative agencies like CBI, Lokayukt etc exposed corruption they were routinely accused of vendetta politics and corrupt and protests were held condemning the very agencies and the raids shown on tv with first hand proof.. For once it it looks like they are now pure, honest and reliable ?

  7. Aam Aadmi Team says:

    The ASAP should capture many seats, and the BJP should lose the election. That will be the way forward.

  8. Kindari Jogi says:

    The photograph of these bundles should be used as posters around Mysore, so that the voters can see how corrupt the BJP politicians are! It should be flashed when their silly padayatra was taking place.

  9. Vijay says:

    BJP has showcased itself in a very poor manner in this whole episode. If BJP doesn’t go behind it’s own legislators who are corrupt then it will be indirectly encouraging them towards corruption. When BJP MPs and MLA have belief that CBI, IT or ED would never come chasing them, then they would be further embolden to indulge in corruption. BJP used to blame Manmohan Singh that though he was clean but he allowed scams to happen under his watch. The same thing is now happening under PM Modi’s regime. Today BJP has the highest number of MPs and MLA among all parties. Do they really think people are naive enough to believe that not a single person from their party is corrupt?

  10. Pramod says:

    BJP shouldn’t be under the impression that just because PM enjoys popularity, the common man will overlook the misdeeds committed by its other members. A lot of voters are voting for BJP not because BJP is the perfect and most ethical party but because they don’t want to vote for Congress.

  11. koppal boregowda says:

    Hey @John
    Is that your real name or one of those virtual names that you accuse other posters of?
    What are you blabbering about? Ofcourse no agency in India is without corruption. Hence, cut the crap.

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