V.S. Palaniappan

  • There is inordinate delay in refunding trap money to complainants in graft cases
  • The trial goes on for years and the complainant is made to wait for many more years to get refund

    Coimbatore: Inordinate delay in refunding the trap money to complainants in graft cases by the vigilance and anti-corruption is turning to be a penalty imposed on those making an attempt to fight corruption.

    In the event of any official demanding bribe for any transaction, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) invites the public to prefer complaints.

    Then, the complainant was asked to hand over his own money as bribe (after giving it a chemical coat for evidence) as part of the trap.

    When, he hands over the money to the corrupt official, the DVAC officials catch the official red-handed and register a case.

    Once a case was registered, the trap money gets deposited with the court as material evidence to strengthen the case of the prosecution.

    The trial goes on for years and even after completion of the case, the complainants are made to wait for several years to get the refund of the trap money.

    To avoid the police being accused of fabricating a case, the DVAC never provided the trap money. But there is a provision for the DVAC to return the trap money to the complainant at least after one year and credit it back to the Government account when the court returns the trap money. But, sources said citing fund constraints this was not done.

    As a result even after a lapse of 10 years, complainants were made to wait for the refund of trap money.

    Sources in DVAC on conditions of anonymity said though exact numbers of such cases were not available instantly 95 per cent of the trap cases over the last 10 years were waiting for the refund. On an average, the DVAC was getting around 250 trap cases an year. Only trap money of small volume was refunded at the earliest possible, sources said.

    Having written letters to the Government twice in this connection, the Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause (CCC), K. Kathirmathiyon, pointed out that delay in refunding the trap money was actually discouraging complainants to fight corrupt practices.

    Instead of being made to part with the money for a trap and endlessly wait for the reimbursement most of the complainants get discouraged and they prefer to part with the money to the corrupt official to get their requirement fulfilled.

    Endless wait

    Even if 10 out of hundred victims came forward to fight corruption, five out of the 10 shy away on hearing that that they would have to provide the trap money and endlessly wait for its refund.

    This not only became a penalty for trying to fight corruption but also indirectly encouraged corruption. Hence, Mr. Kathirmathiyon suggested that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption make funds available for returning the trap money to the complainants at least after one year.

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