Bihar CM paid bribe to get work done

Amid all the tall claims of Nitish Kumar’s commitment to weed out corruption, Bihar Chief Minister Jiten Ram Manjhi has admitted that when he was a minister in the Nitish cabinet, he too paid a bribe to get his work done.

“Nitishji did a lot of development work in Bihar. He established the rule of law. But on one front he could not succeed in weeding out corruption from the state,” said Manjhi, addressing the administrative officers during a training programme here.

“Nitishji asked our partymen to become honest. They followed his diktat. But the officers, apparently, have not become honest. On one occasion, when I was a minister, I had to pay a bribe to a official of the electricity department in Gaya (my hometown) to slash my inflated bill of Rs 25,000.

My electricity bill then came down to Rs 5,000. Later, I complained about the issue to the superintending engineer, who formed a SIT that conducted a raid at the official’s residence and unearthed assets worth crores disproportionate to his known source of income,” the chief minister narrated the incident to the newly-recruited officers.

Asking them to be honest and receptive, Manjhi asked the officers to listen to the grievances of the poor with utmost patience and ensure that even the most underprivileged person got justice.

“After becoming chief minister, whenever and wherever I have visited, the most common complaint is that officers do not listen at all. Without greasing the palms of Bada Babu and Chota Babu (all clerks), no work – be it issuance of a caste certificate or income certificate - is done honestly,” Manjhi lamented.

The BJP was quick to seize the opportunity. “We have been saying that corruption has grown in Bihar by leaps and bounds. And this has been corroborated by the chief minister himself,” said Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, oblivious of the fact that till June last year it was part of the same ‘corrupt regime’.

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