Dilli Ka Babu

Scams & victims
The appointment of the chairman of the Railway Board has been hanging fire for some time now. A further twist has been added. One of the contenders for the post, R.S. Virdi, has been indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission in a 10-year-old case involving procurement of perfume dispensers.
Now that Mr Virdi’s chance has practically ended, sources say that acting chairman of the board Arunendra Kumar could well be the main contender. Some say that Radhey Shyam, general manager of the Kolkata Metro, may well be the proverbial dark horse as his name has been cleared by the CVC. Meanwhile, Mr Virdi, who is claiming that the old case was “deliberately’ dug up to scuttle his chances, approached railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge to intervene. But his efforts have not been successful.
An almost similar situation has arisen at the Shipping Corporation of India, where one of the contenders shortlisted for chairman and managing director of the company is under the Central Bureau of Investigation’s scanner for alleged involvement in the LTC scam. The SCI has been without a head since January and can lose its “Navratna” status owing to the losses the company posted for two consecutive years.

A clean babu
A transparent bureaucracy is so obviously an oxymoron that when a babu actually dares to strike a different note, it becomes newsworthy. One such instance was noted in Karnataka last week. Rural development commissioner Munish Moudgil who is in-charge of implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in the state, announced publically that he would provide daily reports to the public on the progress in the Centre-sponsored scheme.
Mere bravado? But sources say that Mr Moudgil, so far, has kept his promise to the media. He is not only posting information in the public domain, but has also set up a toll-free number for callers to seek information, apply for new jobs or register a complaint. Hopefully, Mr Moudgil’s example will inspire other babus to follow suit.

Befitting rebuke
A retired Indian Administrative Services officer from Karnataka, Shamim Banu, is in judicial custody for her alleged role in a case of illegal mining. But eyebrows were raised in several quarters when many IAS officers in the state publicly aired their views in defence of Ms Banu, asserting that she should not have been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation which is investigating the illegal mining case. Not only this, the Karnataka IAS Officers Association, too, expressed solidarity with the accused. The association has even decided to extend legal support to the accused officer.
This rather public display of camaraderie has not gone down well with the Karnataka high court. The court recently questioned the association’s support for the babu when the matter was still sub-judice. The rebuke, hopefully, will temper the babus’ enthusiasm to support their ex-colleague.

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