I am the quintessential Indian government servant. I eye every public pie. But I am often blind to others eyeing my hoard-yearned piesa.
Maybe I don’t want to see. Maybe I don’t bother; after all, much of the money I make belongs to you and you and you.
I am paid well. But why disturb my salary account when everything I want can be bought by someone else’s money saved in 220 pseudo accounts.
Too many accounts? Not if you know me as Babulal Agarwal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Chhattisgarh. Or as Arvind and Tinoo Joshi, the IAS couple from Madhya Pradesh who unfortunately got caught with Rs 32.5 million in cash.
Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are central Indian states.
Whatever the designation – from semi-literate fourth grader to IAS topper – my credo is: take, don’t give. Where giving is unavoidable, yield a bit.
I don’t bend this rule, whether in the Indian mainland or in the fringes, and it doesn’t matter which community or ethnicity I am partial to. This makes me an example of under-the-table unity in diversity.
Sometimes, I take my department literally. Like when my IAS avatar, Himansu Sekhar Samantray, was the managing director of the Lift Irrigation Corporation in Orissa (eastern Indian state). I lifted, as that state’s vigilance cell found out, to possess cash and property valued at more than Rs 20 million.
But I don’t need the IAS tag to take corruption to a sublime level. As Amjad Hussain, a junior engineer in Assam’s Rural Development Department, I stashed Rs 134.5 million in cash in the garage of my residence in the city of Guwahati.
Don’t be startled. Not all of it was mine. It belonged to many of my dissimilar clones – officers who diverted government-sanctioned development funds to fronts of militant groups in a hill tribal council of Assam.
Coming to the point I made earlier, there’s always someone to partake of the money I make illegally. Take my case as Karuna Saikia, additional chief engineer in the Public Health Engineering Department, suspended for involvement in the same tribal council scam as Hussain.
My Saikia act was busted when federal investigators raided my home some time back. The sleuths seized a lot of money, but had a hunch I had more.
I hadn’t. An occultist named Oliver Momin I had consulted to help keep the investigators off my back took more than Rs 500,000 for selling me ineffective magical solutions.
I, the scammer, was thus scammed. But if there are gods in heaven and godly judges on earth…