MAY 17, 2008: TELECOM DAY SPECIAL
WHO WILL BELL THE CORRUPTION CAT?
We merely forward the complaint: TRAI
May 17, 2008: Zero tolerance to corruption is policy of Government of India. But telecom beaurecrats are on a private mission of zero tolerance to corruption complaints. Neither courts directive nor regulator’s observation can deter them from protecting corrupt officials, revealed an application under the Right to Information Act 2005.
• Faking vigilance report & threat to life
• Cheating with Ministry of PG & GOI
• Illegal telephone connections
• Illegal telephone calls from exchange
• Harassment for not paying bribe
• Sale of free telecom directories
• Telephone on 26 bribe transactions
• Deliberately making telephone dead.
• Corruption in cable lying, etc.
In year 2003, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) lost a legal battle in consumer forum Nagpur. As battery of BSNL officials failed to impress court, compensation of INR 6500 was awarded to complainant, Avinash Murkute. Strong strictures were passed against corruption and integrity of respondent area manager, Yash Panhekar. Corruption issues are out of the purview of consumer courts and complainant is free to take corruption complaints to appropriate forums, says the courts order which is in force as on date.
I filed complaint with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and it issued an order of inquiry in to Multicolor Digital Corruption in BSNL Nagpur, vide order number 408/1/2003-FN (BSNL) dated May 21st 2003. This order was well served to BSNL corporate office but no action was taken on serious allegations of the complainant. Despite various follow-up made by me BSNL chooses to ignore the corruption allegations and complainant.
In December 2007, an application under RTI act 2005 was filed by me with TRAI seeking certified copy of TRAI’s order of inquiry and explanation received from BSNL. I received evasive replies to telephonic enquiries and hence preferred first appeal with TRAI’s appellate authority as information was not served within stipulated 30 days. Proof of delivery of my RTI application was enclosed with the appeal. Explanation was called from public information officer who claimed to have issued information. First Appellate authority of TRAI in decision dated March 14, 2008, directed PIO to send another copy of information, free of cost, by registered post and immediately.
Copy of order passed by the TRAI in to Multicolor Digital Corruption in BSNL Nagpur was provided to me. On item number two of RTI application which sought response or explanation received from BSNL authorities on TRAI’s order – TRAI claimed a one liner - TRAI has only forwarded the complaint to BSNL for necessary action.
Although TRAI has compiled with the provisions of the RTI act 2005 and provided the information sought by the applicant, the bigger question come in to picture. Who will bell the corruption cat? According to The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 section 29 specifies penalty for contravention of directions of authority which specifies: such person shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and more. Under section 31, of the TRAI act 1997, where an offence has been committed by Department of Government, the Head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty and shall be liable to be prosecuted.
I have already written to TRAI to stop the salary of BSNL CMD. In this case TRAI has taken a very lenient view and is tolerating corruption in BSNL. TRAI is consistently ignoring corruption complaints against BSNL and is favoring BSNL officials. This is a good case study for zero tolerance to corruption complaints in BSNL. Till then cat is out of the bag.