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News : Meet the Hotline Core Group
New Delhi, Feb 10, 2014 -- A group of retired bureaucrats, ex-defence personnel and a former intelligence officer, among others, act as advisors. Each has an assigned codename and operates out of an undisclosed location.
After undergoing a rigorous security screening process, they have been assigned their departments. This group of experts form the core group of the anti-corruption helpline.
The hotline ‘aap ki sunwayi’ was started on January 8 after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with his personal secretary, the Anti-Corruption Branch chief and software experts. The idea was to start a helpline which would act as a deterrent to those indulging in corruption. However, at the meeting it was decided that instead of setting up a new system, the existing helpline would be strengthened.
Within a week, 15 graduates were employed to work at the call centre, which too functions out of an undisclosed location.
As soon as a call comes in, the executive notes down the name, address, telephone number and the complaint of the caller. If the complaint is related to a public grievance, the call is deferred. If it is related to corruption, it is immediately forwarded to two system administrators who operate out of the Chief Minister’s office.
The complaints are then screened and transferred to a core group of 10 persons — the advisors. The group includes two ex-defence personnel in the rank of Colonel, a pilot in the rank of a captain, an MSc student, an ex-intelligence officer, three social activists and two management consultants. All 10 advisors work for the hotline on a voluntary basis.
Sources said the software for the helpline was created by an ex-CEO of a software company. He is now one of the system administrators at the CM’s office.
The advisors refer to the list of complaints forwarded to them as the ‘bucket list’. As soon as the complaint lands in the bucket list, an SMS is generated informing the advisor of a ‘pending complaint’. If the complaint is not attended to by the advisor within two hours, the system generates another SMS informing them that they haven’t addressed the complaint.
The bucket list consists of eight sub-heads — date of submission, complainant name and mobile number, details of the complaint, against whom the complaint is being filed, the department, the date and time of the meeting, the place of the meeting and whether it is fit to process.
At first, their first communication with the complainant is three questions — what the complaint is, any indication that money has been demanded in lieu of the work and the quantum of money demanded.
The advisors, based on the complaint, advise the complainant on how to conduct a sting. If the complainant is illiterate, AAP volunteers help them out in conducting the stings. Once the sting is completed, the advisor checks with the complainant again over the next few days. When satisfied with the sting, the advisor directs the complainant to the Anti-Corruption Branch. Only the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Assistant Commissioners of Police can decide on whom to hand over the investigation to at the ACB.
There is also a group of three specialists — an IPS officer, an ex-CVC official and an ex-CBI official — who monitor the whole process and intervene when the complaint is "complicated".
So far, the hotline has received 78,000 calls, of which 2,000 complaints were related to corruption. Of these, stings have been carried out in 1,200 complaints. Hundred-and-fifty calls are pending inquiry and five FIRs have been regsitered. Eight persons have been arrested and seven raids conducted so far.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014