Vigilance plans drive to stop digital bribe

On intelligence inputs, vigilance bureau starts listing officers in all depts who often demand bribes for services

Published: 08th September 2022 05:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2022 05:48 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the wake of reports that corrupt government officials are now accepting bribes through digital payment tools including Google Pay, Phone Pe, and Paytm, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is all set to launch a special enforcement drive to rein in the tainted officers. The drive will be carried out with the help of bank officials to keep a tab on the UPI ( Unified Payment Interface) payments of the corrupt officers. 

The bureau has already started listing the officers in all departments who often demand bribes for services based on the intelligence inputs. Earlier, the vigilance used to lay traps to trap corrupt officials while accepting bribes. The currency notes, already numbered, are powdered with phenolphthalein powder, and the moment the official accepts the bribe, the vigilance team nabs him red handed. His hands are then dipped in water, and if the colour of the water changes to pink, it is proved that he has taken the currency notes. However, such corrupt officials changed their strategy and started using digital tools for accepting bribes.

Vigilance director Manoj Abraham told TNIE that the recent raids on regional transport offices across the state also revealed that the corrupt officials possess ATM cards of third parties for withdrawing bribe money from the accounts of the bribe givers. “We will soon launch a special drive as the recent raids revealed that bribe is being accepted through digital payments tools. We are collecting information and will ensure that this kind of corruption will not be entertained anymore,” he said. 

The statewide inspection by the vigilance titled ‘Operation Jasoos’ launched last Friday at regional transport offices (RTOs) and driving schools unearthed widespread irregularities, including bribes to the tune of Rs 8.55 lakh.  Google Pay was used to make payments of up to Rs 3 lakh. Several officers in the motor vehicle department were found taking bribes through agents to avoid vehicle inspections.  According to vigilance sources, bribing through digital transactions could be traced easily as the money deposited would be an evidence after receiving information from the respective banks. 

“Similarly, the vigilance will also keep a tab on the bank transactions of such officials as they use the cards of third parties. In the raid conducted on RT offices, we found that a motor vehicle department official possessed multiple ATM cards, many of which were in the names of third parties. But the money was withdrawn by the official. We will launch a drive in all departments soon,” said a top official who requested anonymity.


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