Opposition Questions State govt’s ‘Zero Tolerance Towards Graft’

Bhubaneswar: Following Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to dismiss 15 government employees for alleged involvement in graft cases, both BJP and Congress today questioned the State government’s inaction against 11 IAS and 227 OAS officers with corruption charges.

The Opposition said the State government’s ‘zero tolerance towards corruption’ policy is only an eyewash as it is involved in taking action against lower rung officials and allowing senior officers to practise corruption.

BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said, “Suspension and action against lower rung officials does not convey the message on anti-corruption move. If the government wants to show that they are fighting against corruption with the recent decision, it is nothing than a lie.”

Expressing similar views AICC Secretary, Sarat Rout said, “Action against a few officials is a public gimmick while allowing others to practice corruption will serve no purpose. This way corruption will still remain in the system.”

Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister, Ranendra Pratap Swain said, “A course correction is needed in the system and therefore the action has been taken. Has the Modi government done the same despite making claims on anti-graft move?”

As per statements presented by the Chief Minister in the State Assembly, the State Vigilance has registered cases against 11 IAS and 227 OAS officers in past nine years.

Recommendation for action has been made against IAS Srikant Prusty whereas final report has been submitted against IAS Bishnupada Sethi. The Vigilance has submitted chargesheets in five cases which are still in the trial process.

Similarly, out of the 227 OAS officers, conviction has been made in four cases while action has been taken against former Tehsildar of Loisingha, Bijayani Biswal, by dismissing her. Probe in 68 courses are yet to be completed.

As the government has failed to take action against leaders and officials involved in several scams, action against lower rung officials raises doubt, said a former bureaucrat.

“For instance, when a bridge collapses for thrice, there is no way why the work contract should be given to the same person for the fourth time. Also, why action should not be taken against the officials and persons involved allotment of the work order. What kind of zero tolerance against graft is this?” asked Sahadeb Sahu, former chief secretary.