‘Invoke Goondas Act against corrupt officials’
A judge of the Madras High Court who was shocked after hearing the magnitude of corruption happening in Tamil Nadu Government has asked the State administration why corrupt public servants should not be booked under the Goondas Act.
Justice N Kirubakaran who was hearing a case filed by a litigant about widespread corruption in the registration department of the State Government told it to amend the Goondas Act if it could not detain corrupt Government officials under the law. He also posed a series of questions to the State Government on steps to eradicate corruption and sought its reply by December 11.
The judge pointed out on Wednesday that corruption could not be weeded out unless the guilty were booked under preventive detention laws such as Goondas Act and the National Security Act. He asked the State Government whether it could bring out a separate preventive detention Act to detain officials and public servants who indulge in corruption.
In the previous hearing held last month, Justice Kirubakaran had described the registration department of the Government as the most corrupt department in the State. The observation and rebuke by the judge was while hearing the writ petition asking for a directive to the Registration Department to register a document which has been pending for the last one year. The petitioner had complained that his document was not being registered because of his refusal to bribe the registration official.
On November 21, Justice Kirubakaran had posed a series of questions to the secretary, Commercial Taxes and Registration Department and the DGP and had directed them to furnish the answers by December 4.
After going through the replies, Justice Kirubakaran observed on Wednesday that all Government offices in Tamil Nadu have become a “bedrock of corruption”, said Justice Kirubakaran. He also asked the State Government to amend the Goondas Act to include public servants taking gratification in the said Act.
Interestingly, the registration department is headed by an IAS officer by name J Kumaragurubaran against whom there were charges of corruption to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore while he was the managing director of Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TC Corportaion Ltd, a State sector company owned by the Government of Tamil Nadu. His name was featured as one of the most corrupt officials in a 2014 book authored by political commentator V Anbazhagan. Kumaragurubaran chose to ignore the charges as he had the backing of a powerful political family in the State.
According to senior office bearers of industries and trade bodies in the State, entrepreneurs are circumspect of making investments in Tamil Nadu because of widespread corruption.
“This is not an overnight phenomenon. It has been there for decades and that’s why you do not see entrepreneurs coming to the State,” said the official of a leading trade and industry body.
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