The virus of corruption

…….and departmental vigilance officers.

In 1994 to strengthen the anti-corruption mechanism, our state government tried to create an antidote for corruption within the system itself by designating Departmental vigilance officers (DVOs) and issued a circular No. 12 of 1994 dated 22.2.1994 through GAD (General administrative department). The idea of DVOs was to nip the evil of corruption at the bud. To a large extent this apparatus helped a lot in identifying the corrupt elements within the state administrative machinery. With the passage of time necessary corrections and measures were made to strengthen the institution of DVOs. In this regard several circulars and orders were issued by the GAD during the years 2002 and 2003. This sincere effort of government and saner elements within the administration created an infrastructure for checking corruption with very less investment. DVO concept later became the bedrock of state vigilance commission (SVC) and has proved a vital link for SVC.In this war against corruption the corrupt mafia finding itself squeezed to the worst always tries new ploys to penetrate into the system of anti-corruption. So, while creating a remedy like DVOs vigilance system has to be very careful and should opt for officers with highest levels of integrity, honesty and sincerity. DVOs should be role models. Who will not only lead the administration in checking and curbing corrupt and unscrupulous elements within the organization, but should inspire their colleagues to abstain from any wrong doing. Unfortunately, during the last several years at many places the important and respectable posts of DVOs have been occupied by people who either lack integrity or the enormous powers of scrutiny has gone up into their head and they behave oddly. Some DVOs frame innocent colleagues just to cover up their own follies and wrong doings. No doubt the assessment of DVOs is not final and not a verdict against any officer or official as it has to stand by the system of inquiry. But in a conservative society of ours were rumors are like bullets, casting aspersions on one’s integrity and honesty will let loose a barrage of accusations. In many cases the DVOs have resorted to slanderous campaign while investigating the matter without giving any fair chance of defense to their gullible targets. Just to create an atmosphere of fear and defamation most of the communications originating from the offices of such DVOs are full of ambiguity.

It is almost a fact that most of our government departments and organizations suffer from the syndrome of adhocracy and turf wars are fought within the departments to have plum postings. It is also a fact that a full-fledged mafia is working to manage postings and promotions against considerations. To achieve all this and discourage the deserving aspirants they are either hoodwinked or implicated in false cases of wrong-doing. And at these places many unprincipled elements who have sneaked into the system of DVOs instead of working as bridge between the organization and anti-graft agencies work as tools of posting and promotion mafia. I am not generalizing the role, integrity and sincerity of all DVOs, but some elements are there to derail the process of anti-corruption and give a bad name to the institution of DVO. Time has come that while appointing or designating DVOs the authorities should have a mechanism in place that will check intrusion of moles in a sacred system. There should be clear guidelines regarding specified tenure of DVOs and their track record during the period they hold this holy position. Otherwise a system created to kill the monstrous corruption within the organizations will yield nothing but more and forceful corruption.