Fireworks over graft, and then a fire at UP home guard office

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Lucknow, Nov 20 (IANS) When fireworks over corruption begin, it is the fire that works. The fire in the home guard office in Gautam Buddha Nagar on Tuesday morning destroyed all salary muster rolls. This came a week after the state government ordered an inquiry into the alleged attendance scam in which the attendance of home guards was being marked even though they were not on duty. Their salary was apparently being drawn and shared by their seniors.

Even before the inquiry could be completed, all the crucial documents were destroyed in a fire.

This is not the first time in Uttar Pradesh that a fire has been used as an excuse to stall an inquiry into corruption. In 2013, in Aligarh, the issue of ‘shiksha mitras’ being appointed on basis of fake degrees came up and as soon as the probe began, the room of the Basic Education Officer, where all files had been kept, caught fire and the evidence was destroyed.

In a similar incident, the office of the Basic Education Officer in Agra also caught fire a few weeks later and files of ‘shiksha mitras’ were destroyed.

In June 2016, a fire broke out at the Swasthya Bhawan in Lucknow and crucial evidence related to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam was completed gutted. Two months later, another fir broke out in Swasthya Bhawan, destroying the remaining evidence.

In the same year, the fire in the Child Welfare Department in India Bhawan in Lucknow made sure that the data in the computer and all files were destroyed. The department was facing allegations of misappropriation of funds in child welfare schemes.

In September 2016, a fire in the office of the Midday Meal Authority took care of scam-related documents and another fire in the corporate section of the UP Power Corporation office was reported.

A retired government officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The fire incidents usually take place where corruption is rampant. Once the documents and files are destroyed, the inquiry becomes useless. This time-tested formula has been used several times in UP and the culprits responsible for the fire have never been caught”.

–IANS

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