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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

ACB: 48% bribery complaints against govt officials lodged by people aged below 35 yrs

Data till October 2015; 70 complainants from SC & ST category, were asked to pay up to avail benefits of govt schemes.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published: February 15, 2016 12:54:34 am

MAJORITY OF the people who approached the Maharashtra Anti -Corruption Bureau (ACB) after being asked for a bribe by government officials in 2015 were in the below-35 age group, ACB data has revealed.

As per agewise data of complainants, collated by the ACB for the year 2015 (till October 31), at least 48 per cent complaints, 485 out of the total 999, were by people aged under 35 years.

Senior officers see a direct link between facilities like approaching the ACB through mobile applications, introduced last year, and more youngsters approaching them with complaints.

According to a senior officer, since February 2015, when their mobile application was started, 342 complaints have been received. Complainants can submit video, audio and digital files with the help of the application.

The ACB treats it like a normal complaint, verifies the information and then takes appropriate action.

“It appears that we have been able to reach out to youngsters who are tech-savvy. This was the aim of launching the application. We had also started a Facebook page with the same purpose,” an officer said.

Prior to this, the ACB was one of the first anti corruption bodies in the country to set up a Facebook page to upload photographs of those caught taking bribes. The ACB Facebook page has over 30000 ‘likes’. “The world is moving ahead. We need to upgrade ourselves if we want to stay relevant. Our focus is to make the process of registering complaints hassle-free,” the officer said.
As per statistics, 28 per cent — 278 of the complainants who approached the ACB were in the 35-45 age group, 19 per cent — 189 complainants — were in the 46-60 age group and 47 complainants were in the above -60 age group. Complainants can also call up on a toll-free helpline number, 1064.

Maximum complaints are received through calls. “Till date, we have received at least 9,839 calls on the helpline number since June 2014 across Maharashtra,” the officer said.

Apart from age groups, the ACB also checked the backgrounds of the complainants. A notable finding was that 70 complainants belonged to the Schedule Castes and Tribes and were asked to pay money to avail benefits of schemes formulated by the government for their betterment.

There were 22 women, 23 elderly people and five disabled complainants, among others.

As has been the trend, the previous year too saw the maximum number of complaints, a total of 327, against Revenue department officials, followed by 294 complaints against policemen, 50 complaints against government engineers and 30 against teachers.

mohamed.thaver@expressindia.com

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