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News : Anti-graft Hotline Went Cold Within 8 Hours of Kejriwal Quitting
New Delhi, Feb 25, 2014 -- Within eight hours of Arvind Kejriwal resigning as Chief Minister on February 15, the 10 advisers — including a former Intelligence officer, retired defence personnel and bureaucrats — to the AAP government’s anti-corruption helpline received a phone call from the system administrator at the chief minister’s office, asking them to surrender their handsets, chargers, earphones and even the boxes in which all the equipment was provided.
Apart from this, 400 AAP workers, who were associated with the helpline as volunteers to conduct sting operations and assist those unable to conduct stings, too left the helpline.
The helpline — ‘Aap ki sunwayi: 1031’ — was an initiative of Kejriwal that was started on January 8. While a call centre, comprising 15 graduates, was set up at an undisclosed location, two system administrators, including the former CEO of a software company and a social activist, were in charge of the helpline operating out of the CM’s office.
Ten advisers — two retired Colonels, a pilot, an MSc student, a former Intelligence officer, three social activists and two management consultants — were appointed to deal with complainants directly and direct them to the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), which would investigate their complaints and conduct raids.
The advisers were given mobile phones, where SMSes would be sent whenever a complaint was filtered and sent to them for perusal. The mobile phones were registered in the name of the CM’s office for security reasons and each adviser communicated using code names.
However, on February 15, Kejriwal resigned and, at 11 am on Saturday, the 10 advisers got a phone call, informing them that their handsets will have to be surrendered immediately.
They were asked to hand over their passes and every article provided to them with regard to the helpline. Their IDs and passwords, too, were deleted off the main server.
Last week, Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung ordered that the helpline would continue, except that the caller would not be greeted by Kejriwal’s voice as was the case earlier.
Sources told Newsline that the calls were now being monitored by the Directorate of Vigilance, which directs them to the ACB.
Sources said the final data on the number of calls received on the helpline till it was operating under the AAP government was tallied at 1.2 lakh calls, of which only 4,000 were related to anti-corruption. Of these, only 300 were evidence-based while the rest could not be backed by any proof.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Where Is The Problem?
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Published: Friday, February 28, 2014