They were shown in a sting operation demanding bribe for allowing unauthorised constructions in their areas

Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin on Friday recommended to Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna censure of two former Municipal Corporation of Delhi councillors who were shown in a sting operation telecast in December 2011 seeking illegal gratification for allowing unauthorised constructions in their areas.

The recommendation has come even as the L-G had in the matter of recommendation of “caution” to another former councillor Ajit Singh Tokas in the same sting operation held, “I have considered the report of the Lokayukta and concluded that issuing such an advisory at present would not be inconsequential, since defaulting public officer is no longer a Municipal Councillor.”

However, the office of Lokayukta insists that sub-section 2 of Section 7 of Delhi Lokayukta and Upalokayukta Act, 1995, provides that inquiry for misconduct can be taken up to five years from the date of complaint.

‘Caution’

The Lokayukta’s office said it would be hardly a ground to urge that “caution”, which is expected to bring in cleansing process and self-control mechanism, should not be resorted to because the recipient is no longer in a powerful position. The efficacy of a ‘caution’ does not recede with ceasing to be in office. Public life is full of vicissitudes where it is of utmost significant to maintain core values, it said.

The Lokayukta had taken suo motu cognizance of the sting operation and the publication of a news item related to it in a Hindi daily. Thereafter, a detailed inquiry in each of the cases was carried out.

One of the councillors Anita Koli had questioned the legality of the sting operation on plea of entrapment and inducement. She had also contended that the reporters, posing as contractors, had spoken to her husband, who was a builder.

The Lokayukta viewed the tapes and found unimpeachable and categorical evidence of the involvement of the councillor in discussing and encouraging illegal construction. He held her guilty for conduct actuated by improper personal interest and lack of faithfulness in terms of section 2(b) (i) of the Act and recommended to the Lieutenant-Governor to issue “censure” to her.

Simultaneously, the Lokayukta has also referred the matter to the Commissioner of Police for considering of evidence and record as to whether any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act was disclosed or not.

Similarly, in respect of councillor Sateshwari Joshi, the Lokayukta had taken cognizance and conducted an inquiry.

In her response, Ms. Joshi stated that during the conversation she had not desired anything for herself and the reporters had spoken to one ‘Chotu’. However, the Lokayukta held that “the above plea stands repelled by her telling gestures and signs indicating quantum needed. This would also be breach of integrity and come within the ambit of Prevention of Corruption Act, if the person instead of demanding for herself was demanding for the benefit of another person, namely, ‘Chotu’ in the instant case.”

In this case again, he found the conduct of the Councillor to be in violation of the norms of integrity and conduct and recommended her “censure” to the Lieutenant-Governor.

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