Sushan bribe, Chhabila style


to CM for cop

How Much ‘sushaasit’ (well governed) is the ‘sushan’ (good governance) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar?

I groped for an answer to this simple question that is tormenting every mind in Bihar. This question is equally valid for Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand. The political leaders of all hues have no straight answer. They see it through their own looking glasses or talk of the ‘misdeeds’ of the Manmohan Singh government in Delhi. Common man, who bear the brunt in everyday life, has no voice or the rulers care two figs for their agonies.

Bureaucracy has grown unbridled beyond belief in the twin states. Corruption has seeped to every layer of government. Policing is almost at the mercy of hoodlums. Police action or inaction is guided virtually by money and political clouts. In many cases even the rulers do not have faith in their own police investigation. The handing over the case to the CBI to untangle the killing of outlawed Ranveer Sena Barmeshwar Singh Mukhia is an example of faith of the people and government in state police investigation.
A single grain tells how well the rice is cooked, says a common idiom. We carry here tale of ‘brave fight’ against the mounting corruption and mismanaged governance.

The brave fight of a Mahadalit of Hajipur, Chhabila Paswan against ever escalating corruption would have put Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the horns of a dilemma. Paswan has sent a postal order worth Rs. 1,000 requesting Nitish Kumar to the pay the amount to the police officer, who won’t register an FIR sans ‘paan-phul’ (bribe money). The letter also requests the Chief Minister to deposit the amount in his relief fund, if rules do not permit the government to bribe its employee in uniform. Nitish Kumar, who never tires himself in talking of has ‘relentless’ crusade against corruption, has a Hobson’s choice in rejecting or accepting the envelope Chhabila Paswan has despatched him by Speed Post. Inside should be the amount of Rs 1,000 the daily wage-earner had begged on the road to generate the money a police officer allegedly sought as bribe to register a complaint.

Chhabila sent the alms to the chief minister asserting that since paying bribe is an offence, “I purchased ten postal orders, each of Rs 100 denomination and sent them through Speed Post in a sealed envelope, which has also a petition detailing my travails”. Chhabila, 40, lives in Halaiya in Mahua sub-division of Vaishali district. His travails began soon after he bought a 1,742-sqft plot in January. A local tough, Sanjit Kumar, filed a petition objecting to the sale of the land. But the justice was noton his side. The petition was dismissed by the deputy collector land reforms (DCLR), Mahua. But his torment continued as other toughs tried to grab the land.

On May 30, Paswan, who lives with his brothers, widowed mother, wife and two sons in their thatched home, went to Katahara police outpost, under which his village falls. He said station house officer Manoj Kumar Gupta listened to his grievances. “When I begged for help, the SHO agreed to bail me out but wanted a bribe to register the complaint. As I am poor, I decided to beg to collect the money”, he told a Patna English newspaper.

The story does not end here. Chhabila told the newspaper that from the police outpost, he went to the office of the Vaishali SP from where he called up the chief minister’s official residence. “I contacted the chief minister’s official residence in Patna on the phone No. 0612-2217741 at 7.48 pm and complained against the police officer’s conduct. The man at the other end listened and assured help but nothing happened”, he rued.

Meanwhile, the state government acted fast when the news story created a virtual storm in the state capital. (Reliable sources said that the reporter, who wrote out the story, was dubbed anti-government.) The concerned police officer has been put under suspension and a departmental proceeding has been initiated. But the moot question stands begging an answer: When corruption has seeped into every layer of administration, how many officials would be suspended or punished?

Mahadalit fund swindled: Next story


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