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Uttar Pradesh bureaucrats most corrupt, adorn hall of shame

OUR CORRESPONDENT  Lucknow | 26th Dec 2010

B. S. Lalli

n increasing number of IAS officers from the Uttar Pradesh cadre are finding their way into the hall of shame.

The roll call that began with Akhand Pratap Singh, former UP chief secretary, who was forced to resign in December 2003 following an indictment by the Supreme Court, continues with officers like Neera Yadav being jailed, B.S. Lalli being suspended and Siddharta Behura facing investigation in cases related to corruption and professional misconduct.

Akhand Pratap Singh was charged by the CBI in 2007 for fraud, forgery and acquisition of wealth disproportionate to his disclosed sources of income. He was earlier indicted by the Supreme Court. Eventually, he had to resign from his post.

In 2005, Neera Yadav had to step down from the chief secretary's post following a similar indictment by the apex court. She was arrested last month in the Noida land scam case and had to spend time in jail before being released on bail.

Incidentally, both Akhand Pratap Singh and Neera Yadav were voted as the "most corrupt officers"' in a secret ballot conducted by the UP IAS Association in 1996. However, their immense political clout gave them the safe passage and both went on to become chief secretaries. They later used their clout to prevent the UP IAS Association from continuing with its crusade against corruption.

Earlier, in 2003, Devinder Singh Bagga, chief secretary in the Mayawati regime, was suspended for alleged professional misconduct in the Taj Corridor scam.

Prasar Bharti CEO B.S. Lalli, another IAS officer from the UP cadre, was suspended this week for alleged professional misconduct. He is facing charges for giving television rights to handpicked companies during the Commonwealth Games.

Siddhartha Behura, a 1973 batch IAS officer from UP, was recently questioned for his proximity to former Telecom Minister A. Raja and his possible role in the 2G spectrum saga.

"The UP IAS Association was the first to initiate a mechanism to check corruption among bureaucrats. We conducted the secret ballot to identify three most corrupt officers. Vindicating our stand, two of them — Akhand Pratap Singh and Neera Yadav — have already been arrested in different cases while the third one, Brijendra Yadav, is no more.

Some officers, however, made sure that we discontinued the practice and the result is that our presence in the hall of shame is growing," said a senior member of the UP IAS Association.

A retired bureaucrat, on the other hand, blames the moral decline on politicisation of the bureaucracy in UP.

"Politicians expect the officers to do 10 wrong deeds for them and in return, the officer does two wrong things for himself. Corruption, therefore, gets bigger and bigger till the balloon bursts. However, the strange thing is that the officer often lands up in the net and even goes to jail but the politician goes scot free," he said.

The retired officer added that unless the bureaucracy got de-politicised and stepped back, corruption cannot be checked.

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