In a step unprecedented in governance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, while announcing an anti-corruption helpline on Wednesday, said each citizen armed with a phone could “use audio or video to perform a sting” to entrap corrupt officials.
“Today the people of Delhi will have to cooperate with us to abolish corruption. Each citizen of Delhi will be an anti-corruption inspector. Your phone will be your biggest weapon. You don’t need a lathi or any object to protest against corruption. Do the sting there and then, and let our anti-corruption department know. We will lay a trap and arrest them. You can use audio or video to perform a sting,” said Kejriwal.
Elaborating on the anti-corruption helpline, 011-27357169, he said the caller’s name, contact number and complaint would be recorded, and an “advisor” would call back and train the complainant to perform a sting operation. After doing the sting, the person would have to call the helpline again. “Our anti-corruption department will call the complainant within 24 hours of his call. It will lay a trap and arrest the guilty,” said Kejriwal.
The helpline, in operation from 8 am to 10 pm, will be regulated by a call centre. The number may later be replaced by a four-digit number. “Har rishwat lene wale ke dil me khauf paida karenge aur aam aadmi ko anti-corruption crusader bana denge (It will instill fear in the corrupt, and make every common man an anti-corruption crusader),” said Kejriwal, flanked by ministers Somnath Bharti and Manish Sisodia.
Kejriwal said the government would try to protect the complainants. Asked what the government would do in cases involving the Delhi Police, he said, “We will treat them the same way we treat every other case of corruption.”
Recalling his speech during his swearing-in ceremony, Kejriwal said, “I told people that if anyone demands money from them, do not refuse. Instead, do a ‘setting’. We promised to give people a phone number within two days where complaints can be lodged. But due to the poor state of the state vigilance department, it was delayed.”
Stating that “the Lieutenant-Governor has assured that we will get teams from Delhi Police on stand-by if we face a staff crunch”, he said, “I assure you that we have set up enough teams to deal with the stings.”
N Dilip Kumar, retired special commissioner, Delhi Police, has been appointed as advisor for the helpline.
“There are honest as well as dishonest officials. We have to identify the dishonest one. Ek machli saare talab ko ganda kar deti hai,” said Kejriwal.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which supports the Kejriwal government, criticised the move. “Across the country, every government has taken action after sting operations indicted their people or officials. Only the AAP did not take action against its members and gave a clean chit to them after a sting operation. The AAP is now trying to shift its responsibility to the people. We will wait and see how this will get rid of corruption,” said Arvinder Singh Lovely, Delhi PCC chief.
BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Harsh Vardhan said the AAP government was not following proper procedures to make its transactions transparent and putting the onus on the people to provide evidence against the corrupt. “Rather than asking people to do a sting, the government should focus on e-governance and bring transparency. It is the government’s duty to do away with corruption,” he said.