Hyderabad: The crackdown launched by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) against corrupt officials is giving sleepless nights to Revenue department employees who were caught red-handed in several cases for allegedly accepting bribes from people.
Depending upon the necessity and status of the people thronging the Tahsildar’s office to complete works related to land records, Revenue department employees are apparently collecting bribes ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 8 lakh, according to officials.
If anyone expresses their inability to pay the amount, threats are held out stating that the work would be stalled and that it would remain pending till their demands are met. Left with no other option, most are found to be paying a bribe to the staff to get their work done.
However, a few people are coming forward to lodge complaints with the ACB officials, who after conducting a preliminary inquiry, are swinging into action and organising trap against errant staff. From January to till date, the ACB has caught three Tahsildars, 10 Village Revenue Officers (VROs), two Surveyors and a Deputy Tahsildar, Village Revenue Assistant, Deputy Mandal Surveyor, Mandal Revenue Inspector and an administrative officer posted at the office of Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO).
These officials were caught from Medak, Mahabubabad, Ranga Reddy, Rajanna Sircilla, Jagtial, Jogulamba-Gadwal, Kamareddy, Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri, Komaram Bheem-Asifabad, Khammam, Jayashankar-Bhupalpally and Jangaon.
Such was the attitude of the employees that they did not even spare a soldier. A deputy mandal surveyor, Nampally Srinivas of Palakurthy mandal in Jangaon, allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000 on March 11, 2019, to conduct survey and fix the boundaries of landing belonging to a soldier and his brothers.
Two months ago, the ACB caught two Tahsildars – K Naga Jyothi and K Shiva Srinivas – in Siddipet district for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 6.50 lakh. The ACB found that the corrupt officials were collecting the bribe either directly or with the help of their conduits and subordinates.
A few VROs were found to be collecting bribe at the Tahsildar’s office or near a tea stall or soft drinks shop outside the office.
‘Best Tahsildar’ demands bribe from farmers
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials, who are probing the case that was registered against Keshampet Tahsildar V Lavanya, found that she did not hand over the passbooks of 11 farmers for allegedly failing to pay her the bribe she demanded.
The ACB arrested Lavanya after seizing Rs 93.5 lakh unaccounted cash and 400 grams of gold from her residence in Hayathnagar during searches that were carried out on Wednesday night. The officials found the cash stored in open shelves and beneath clothes. Incidentally, Lavanya had won the best Tahsildar award in 2017.
The officials also found 45 applications of farmers, requesting to computerise their land details, inside her official vehicle.
The Tahsildar’s alleged misdeeds came to light when a farmer, Mamidipally Bhaskar, lodged a complaint with the ACB. A bribe of Rs 8 lakh was demanded from Bhaskar to update online details related to his land measuring 9.07 acres.
Sources said the staff had deliberately removed land records from online to re-upload them.
Pension Payment officer held
Kethavath Phulu Nayak, an Assistant Pension Payment Officer of the Department of Treasuries and Accounts, was caught red-handed by the officials of the Anti-Corruption Bureau on Thursday afternoon when he allegedly demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 7,000 from a complainant R Kiran Kumar, an advocate.
Nayak demanded the bribe from Kumar as a reward for sanctioning pension arrears of the latter’s mother. Officials recovered the bribe amount from Nayak and arrested him.