In a bizarre response to allegations of corruption, the Gujarat Government has decided to shoot the messenger rather than take note of the message.
After a nine-minute audio clip of a Government officer admitting corruption went viral, the weekly Cabinet meeting discussed the issue and decided to take strict action against the official. Deputy CM Nitin Patel told newspersons after the Cabinet meeting that strict action would be taken against officers who illegally leak government information with ulterior motives.
The ‘corruption’ clip is purported to be of an officer Anil Patel, former Secretary of the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board (GPYVB), telling an RTI activist about corruption in some projects at Pavagadh, a pilgrimage site atop a hill in central Gujarat.
Patel, currently Additional Secretary, Rural Development, is also heard saying in the audio clip that there had been corruption and poor quality of work at Dwarka, Bahucharji, Surat and Dangs, the places where pilgrimage centres have been built by the GPYVB set by the BJP government when it came to power first time in 1995.
He also disclosed during the same conversation with RTI activist Kishor Nathwani that he had written to the authorities pointing out the corruption issues during his tenure in the GPYVB. “I have also faced inquiries for my stand on corruption issues”, the officer told the RTI activist in the audio clip gone viral.
This embarrassing audio clipping has gone viral just a week after video clippings in the social media had shown concrete bridge portions coming off with a little push of bare feet and newly tarred roads being peeled off with bare hand. The Deputy CM said it was “improper” for the officers to make false allegations after getting side-lined postings.
The GPYVB said in a press release that it had received a representation by RTI activist Kishor Nathwani and the quality of work at the pilgrim centre would be assessed.