Thursday, May 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Where transfer guidelines are flouted with impunity

Apropos of the editorial “Indian Bribe Service” ( May 24) on the arrest of the PA to the Union Minister of State for Finance, if one goes through the transfer orders issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) during the last one year, one would understand the entire gamut of the “transfer scandal” in this department. The “transfer guidelines” are followed more in breach than in practice. The CBDT orders transfer of Class A officers — from the Chief Commissioner to the Assistant Commissioner — but the higher the post, the greater the irregularities.

One can check with any senior officer of the Department posted at coveted places like Delhi or Mumbai and see how some people are above the rules. Ask New Delhi’s Chief Commissioner (CC) about his own postings. In his case, the rules have been flouted year after year with impunity. The guidelines specify a period after which a person must move to another region. But the present CC has remained in Delhi almost all his life. On promotion, he was transferred out of Delhi, but he did not comply with the orders. He was on leave for six months and then posted back in Delhi. Clearly, rules do not apply to most of the senior officers in Delhi or Mumbai.

There are also VIP officers in sought-after regions like the North West Region (NWR) and Western Uttar Pradesh. An officer on promotion as CC is posted at Rajkot but is transferred after a week to Mumbai and, within a month, is re-accommodated in the NWR, where he had managed to stay for more than 20 years! Each transfer entails a cost to the exchequer but who cares? Two Commissioners were transferred out of the NWR last year, but they did not join. After being on leave for six months, they were posted back in the NWR in November last. Let there be an independent inquiry and one will find proverbial skeletons in the cupboards of the Finance Ministry. Surprisingly, many officers occupying sensitive and important posts are themselves under a cloud and are being probed by the CBI or the Vigilance wing of the Department.


A large number of officers who were shunted away to unfavourable places admit in confidence that after they were transferred, some “middlemen” had approached them with an assurance that they can be retransferred to lucrative posts, near their hometowns, if their services were utilised. Such services, of course, have price tags.

The CBDT Chairman is only too willing to oblige the political bosses because, by doing so, he not only covers his own misdeeds but also ensures a post-retirement placement for himself.

M.K. Menon, Chandigarh


Corruption always starts at the top where the loopholes should be plugged. This require a strong political will and a shock treatment as the malady is deep-rooted. Condign punishment should be given to such offenders. Anyone indulging in corrupt practices should be dismissed, all benefits withdrawn and put behind bars. Graft must be made a non-bailable offence.

Look at the lifestyle of some bureaucrats in the state capitals. With the exception of a few gentle souls, amassing of wealth by unfair means has become a favourite pastime of many bureaucrats. Also officials at the lowest rung do the same. This can stop only when the corrupt know that they cannot go scot-free and no political leader will come to their rescue. Judges too should first judge themselves before judging others. Judicial credibility, which is at present at its lowest ebb, should be restored.

Politicians need to be corrected if we want to correct the system. There is a need to revive moral values in public life so that value-based politics and administration become the order of the day. Simplicity and austerity need to be restored in the day-to-day life of the bureaucrats and the leaders who have lost much of their moral shine. A vigilant public and an alert print and electronic media are a must to mobilise public opinion against the mess we are in.

Prof K.L. Batra, Yamunanagar


The editorial, inter alia, observes: “It is the worst kept secret of the Indian babudom that every prize posting comes at a price”. But who is to be blamed for this mess in society? As far as I know, based on my 40 years of experience in government service, PAs or Personal Assistants attached to ministers, chairmen of government undertakings, corporations etc are not regular government employees. In fact, PAs are selected by the minister concerned from his own constituency upon whom he depends on everything. The PAs enjoy the full confidence of the ministers who have full faith in them for disposal of all matters, political, administrative and personal.

Thus, one cannot blame the entire babu community for the present mess. Can anyone imagine that an ordinary clerk or babu will have the courage to take bribe to the extent of Rs 10 lakh without the explicit consent of his political master for a single transfer in the Income-Tax department?

S.D. Kalia, Chandigarh


Nowadays, one can amass wealth through unfair means and still get away with it. The continuance of corrupt politicians like Jayalalithaa, Mayawati proves your assertion that the Indian Bribe Service will be “back in business soon enough”. “Only the really gullible”, as you say, are unaware of the goings-on and the Prime Minister is certainly not gullible. Nor is the CBI for the simple reason that the general public will not be able to know why a politician or an officer is caught.

MPs and MLAs have stopped raising the issue of corruption in Parliament and state legislatures from the time they got busy with their respective area development funds. As Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh is fond of saying, Iss hamam mein sab nange hain.

The only way by which corruption can be rooted out from the Indian soil is by divesting MPs and MLAs of all perks, pay, powers and privileges so that people do not seek election for riches. Let them render honorary service to the nation. Let netagiri be not a profession that is used to earn bread for the family. Nothing short of a major surgery of the Constitution will achieve this objective. But will the Prime Minister take the risk?

L.R. Sharma, Solan


Going down memory lane

I have recently shifted to Kasauli from Delhi and am now an avid reader of The Tribune. I read with excitement and nostalgia posters of Indian filmstars in Pakistan, prominent being those of Aishwarya Rai in Global Monitor (May 24).

During my stay in London in 1973, I made many friends, some being Pakistanis. The legend ‘Pakeezah’ was a superhit then and its lilting music could move anyone’s soul. Before I went to England, I had already seen it seven times in Delhi, so my Pakistani friends in London only talked to me about Indian movies and filmstars. They were besotted by Nargis, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand.

What I recall now is how much they pestered me to send them cassettes of ‘Pakeezah’ for any price. Of course, video technology was unborn then. So, we derived complete pleasure and satisfaction by seeing our favourite movies over and over again and buying their audio cassettes to carry the enjoyment home.

Sitting in the Jawaharlal Nehru University Hostel balcony with friends, we used to sing to our hearts’ content these immortal melodies through the nights. That was the effect of good music, which was in plenty then. Who can be tired of the timeless beauty of Nutan, Vyjayantimala, Sadhana, Waheeda Rehman, Nargis, Madhubala, and the romantic images of Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra and Shashi Kapoor? Or the soulful renditions by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar etc? And who will not go down memory lane? I always do.

Nisha Kohli, Kasauli


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