East Indian state to sack almost 600 corrupt officials

by Foundation Correspondent | @nitabhalla | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:51 GMT

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaks to Reuters in the eastern Indian city of Patna while seeking re-election. Picture taken March 31, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

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PATNA, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Authorities in a state in eastern India plan to sack almost 600 civil servants within the next two months for taking bribes from poor villagers, a senior government official said on Thursday.

A recent report by the Bihar state government said anti-graft investigators had caught 576 state officials taking bribes since 2006, but most of them still had their jobs.

"The chief minister has directed us to dismiss the corrupt officials as soon as possible by concluding departmental proceedings against them to ensure this conveys a strong signal to the corrupt class," Ashok Kumar Sinha, Bihar's chief secretary, told a news conference late on Wednesday.

"The dismissals will create a sense of fear among the corrupt officials."

Bihar is one of India's poorest and least developed states and - like many parts of the country - has a reputation for widespread corruption.

However, in recent years the state has been touted as an example of how India can turn away from corrupt, caste-based politics and promote infrastructure and development and provide security.

Under its chief minister, former engineer Nitish Kumar, Bihar has carried out several road projects which have helped boost economic growth, and authorities have taken anti-graft measures such as setting up a special police team and courts to deal with corruption cases.

In 2011, the Bihar government began confiscating the homes of corrupt officials and turning them into schools, and posted video-clips of corrupt officials seen taking bribes on Youtube to act as a deterrent.

 (Writing by Nita Bhalla)

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