Contagious Corruption

Invariably every day in morning walk, the discussions of the veterans converge pretty soon on the corruption in the system. For some time in past weeks, the main headlines went to Madhu Koda who had become the chief minister of Jharkhand by default. As reported, Koda siphoned some Rs 4000 crore. The police finally have arrested Madhu Koda, 38, on the instruction of India’s Enforcement Directorate which investigates economic crimes.

The other recent important corruption news relates to Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran. The process of impeachment has started against him. As reported, Justice Dinakaran has grabbed land and accumulated wealth beyond known sources of income during his tenure as judge of the Madras High Court. Dinakaran has decided not to hold court sittings till he is cleared.What can be the future of justice in India if even delay gets a price.

One of the two most important factors affecting India’s future growth, according to the survey by the London based think tank Legatum Institute is the contagious corruption.India has earned notoriety for its widespread corruption, and its rating is dismal among the countries of the world. In another story reported last week in Kolkata Telegraph, the CBI arrested a senior scientist of the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 75,000 from the representative of a Calcutta-based mines safety equipment manufacturing company. And almost every other day, one read some news related to corruption and also some survey report that reveals how contagious corruption has become.

Estimates by Outlook magazine suggest that the total amount swindled by politicians, bureaucrats and private companies since 1992 is around Rs 73 lakh crore. And by now India According to another report, a staggering 300 Bihar government employees earning modest government salaries are crorepatis. Surprisingly enough, all but two of the sleazy 300 continue to hold on to their secure as also, no doubt, lucrative – government jobs despite long stints in jails.

I feel morose when some friends in the morning naturally with their experiences from government jobs feel that the corruption today is not the issue of any consequence today. Some even opine that corruption has become the built in lubricating feature of the system without which the machinery will cease to work.

I have been concerned only because the society at large hardly reacts against it though it is getting contagious. Almost everyone who gets opportunity goes for it without hesitation. Perhaps for many, corruption is becoming essential to live with equity and respect. Otherwise the poor scientist would not have hankered for it. And the Chief Justice would not have been taking shelter against his identity related to his birth in deprived class.

But I have different question: Why are the person or the company offering the bribe not severely punished? Are the people trying to buy the vulnerables not the real culprits? Are they not exposed and excused as they are from the most powerful section of the society? When can be an equally severe punishment given to those real culprits? Can some effective voices will support my viewpoint?

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