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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Maharashtra: Rise in corruption cases after slump during lockdown, Oct sees 11% jump from last year

Due to the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, there was a steep fall in the number of corruption cases as offices were shut. However in October, the number of cases registered has seen an 11 per cent jump from last year.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Updated: November 23, 2020 9:45:05 am
As per the statistics, a total of 61 cases were registered in October this year as compared to 55 cases in the month last year. (File)

After months of seeing a slump in corruption cases across the state, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered more cases in October this year than the previous year.

Due to the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, there was a steep fall in the number of corruption cases as offices were shut. However in October, the number of cases registered has seen an 11 per cent jump from last year.

Officers in the ACB see the increased numbers as a positive trend as reporting corruption, unlike other crimes, is largely dependent on complainants approaching the anti-corruption agency.

Director General (ACB) Rajneesh Seth told The Indian Express, “Even though a month is a small period to identify trends, the high numbers in October is a positive sign that people are coming forward to register complaints.”

As per the statistics, a total of 61 cases were registered in October this year as compared to 55 cases in the month last year. The lowest number of cases was understandably in April, when seven cases were registered as compared to 58 last year, a fall of 88 per cent. In May, 30 cases were registered this year as compared to 76 last year.

“While hardly anyone stepped out to government offices during the lockdown months, the number of cases were low. However, people started going to offices after ease in restrictions, which led to a spike,” an officer said.

On Thursday, two staffers at the marriage registrar’s office in south Mumbai were arrested for seeking a bribe of Rs 3,000 that was brought down ‘after negotiation’ to Rs 2,000. The bribe was for issuing a marriage certificate. On Monday, a secondary engineer of the BMC was arrested for seeking a bribe of Rs 2,000. “The officials caught for seeking these bribes are not low-rung employees,” an official said, requesting anonymity.

Overall, a total of 583 cases have been registered in 2020 (till November 19), while the lowest number of cases registered in a year since 2014 was 891 last year. In the current year, among the eight ranges, Mumbai has recorded the lowest 22 cases while Pune registered the maximum 127 cases. Thane and Mumbai ranges have seen the steepest drop in cases from last year at 51 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively.

Among those who have been caught accepting bribes, the police and revenue departments top the list with 197 and 190 cases, respectively.

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