Nagpur: Expressing serious concern over the ever-growing number of corruption cases, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday called on citizens to raise voice against "this menace" and "refuse to pay taxes by launching a non-cooperation movement" if the government fails to control it.
Justice Arun Chaudhari passed several strictures on the Maharashtra government and Bank of Maharashtra (BOM) for overlooking embezzlement of funds worth Rs385 crore in Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Vikas Mahamandal (LASVM), an organization which was set up for the uplift of Mathang community. He asked director general of police (DGP) to find out veracity of such cases reported in newspapers and act immediately.
Terming corruption as a "hydra-headed monster", the judge said it is high time citizens came together to tell their governments that they have had enough. "The miasma (unholy atmosphere) of corruption can be beaten if all work together. If it continues, taxpayers' should refuse to pay taxes through a non-cooperation movement," said Chaudhari.
While passing strictures, the judge rejected the anticipatory bail application of Pralhad Pawar, LASVM's district manager in Bhandara. He was accused of embezzling funds of Rs24 crore meant for distribution to poor members of the Matang community who fall in the scheduled caste category. The members earn a livelihood by playing the trumpet and bugle.
"The taxpayers are in deep anguish. Let the government as well as mandarins in corridors of power understand their excruciating pain and anguish. They have been suffering for over two decades in the state. There is an onerous responsibility on those who govern to prove to taxpayers that eradication of corruption would not turn out to be a forlorn hope for them," stated Chaudhari.
Observing that corruption in government-run financial organizations had become order of the day in the last two decades, the judge said, "The taxpayers are merely looking at this grim situation. Does the taxpayers pay the money to the government for such kind of acrobatics being played? Ethics and morals have taken a back seat in modern India's scheme of things."
Taking a dig at employees' unions, Chaudhari flayed them for supporting corrupt workers. "It's surprising that the central or state governments unions demonstrate for VII Pay Commission but don't condemn, outcast or protest against their counterparts indulging in corruption. There are many government corporations which indulged in huge misappropriation of the taxpayers' money in the alike fashion."
The court noted that Mohol (Solapur) MLA Ramesh Kadam was made LASVM chairman in connivance with managing director Shravan Bawane and BOM officers. Together, they allegedly withdrew crores of rupees by showing fake expenditure, disbursement of loan of subsidy, and grants, stated the court order.
"It shocks one and all as to the manner in which the taxpayers' money is being swindled, misappropriated and robbed by such unscrupulous holders of posts. How this huge amount of Rs385 crores will come back is a million dollar question," said Chaudhari.