S. Vijay Kumar

Special team of ACB receives hundreds of SMS messages

CHENNAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation move to gather information through short messaging service (SMS) and e-mail on corrupt practices in Central Government establishments has evoked good response from the public.

According to sources in the agency, a special team of the Anti Corruption Branch has received hundreds of SMS messages and e-mails since the initiative was launched on August 1. Christened ‘Fight Against Corruption,’ the CBI’s SMS message was sent to at least 10 million mobile phone users in Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry through telecom operators, who agreed to do it free.

The SMS message calls for complaints of corruption in Central Government offices/Banks/Public Sector Undertakings. With an assurance that the details of the sender would be kept strictly confidential, the agency sought inputs through SMS (9444049224), email ( sp1acchn@cbi.gov.in) and voice call (044-28255899).

“We are receiving an average of 30 SMS [messages] and an equal number of emails and phone calls every day from people across the State on specific information about corruption in various offices. Inputs on State Government establishments are being forwarded to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption. This mechanism is not only to generate information but also to create awareness among the public,” a senior CBI official said.

Every piece of information, be it through SMS or email, was being stored and processed systematically under the direct supervision of senior officials. “There are some motivated or biased inputs. We are not taking direct action on any complaint. The CBI has its own time-tested methodology of verifying the complaints. While information would be kept secret, details of informers (senders) will not be revealed under any circumstances,” the official said.

Encouraging response

This system of involving the public in giving information was first tried out by the CBI in Mumbai where the response was encouraging.

“This is an opportunity for the people to expose corrupt officials. We are getting some good inputs...our job will be to develop the information by ascertaining its genuineness and initiate subsequent action. The sender need not be the complainant,” he said, adding that the initiative would be a deterrent to corrupt practices.