Confessions of an Anti-Corruption Bureau Officer

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“Corruption amongst women in public life is high and increasing. They also get caught because they make stupid mistakes.”

Who says there is no corruption in the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)? At the end of the day, the ACB is like any other government department whose officers get a meagre pay packet. 

But few officers want to be posted here because it is not a ‘revenue earning’ department. From the moment they join, many senior officers get busy trying to get another posting. Getting manpower is the biggest impediment in the smooth functioning of this department.

Many officers who head this department turn a blind eye to the corrupt activities of senior officers or ministers. After all, if they want to be posted out, they are likely to need their help.

Every policeman knows who is corrupt in his department. So, catching the corrupt should have been easy. In reality, it is difficult to take on people from within the department. We hardly do sting operations, and instead, always wait for a complaint. 

The jurisdiction of the ACB is vast. We receive many complaints, and people expect quick results. But that is just not possible with such few personnel. 

Corruption amongst women in public life is high and increasing. They also get caught because they make stupid mistakes. Some time ago, we arrested a woman who was heading the nursing staff in Maharashtra. She would ask people to deposit the money in her office itself. These were not small sums, but huge amounts. Some are smart. They accept gifts in kind—saris, jewellery, household articles, etcetera—during festivals or auspicious days. Corrupt women are flashier than men. They have to show off their wealth. Men hide their ill-gotten wealth well. They buy benami properties in the names of women in their household, but a woman will never do that. She does not trust a family member to return her wealth. 

(The officer is on a routine posting to the ACB)

As told to Haima Deshpande