Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice B Pugalendhi of the Madurai bench of the HC became furious when they were informed that farmers were at the mercy of officials at paddy procurement centres and that corruption by more than 100 officials was identified during inspection. “Corruption is like cancer and is fast spreading. Officials involved in corrupt practices should be hanged. Death penalty should be awarded to weed out corruption,” the judges observed, expressing shock at officials demanding bribe from poor farmers. HC asks about revisiting anti-corruption laws

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Graft in paddy buying: Hang corrupt officers, says Madras HC
TNN | Nov 3, 2020, 06:25 IST
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MADURAI: In a strong observation against corruption, the Madras high court on Monday said corrupt officials should be hanged, and only a death penalty would weed out corruption.
Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice B Pugalendhi of the Madurai bench of the HC became furious when they were informed that farmers were at the mercy of officials at paddy procurement centres and that corruption by more than 100 officials was identified during inspection. “Corruption is like cancer and is fast spreading. Officials involved in corrupt practices should be hanged. Death penalty should be awarded to weed out corruption,” the judges observed, expressing shock at officials demanding bribe from poor farmers.
HC asks about revisiting anti-corruption laws
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When a public interest writ petition of activist-advocate A P Suryaprakasam highlighting corruption at the government’s paddy procurement centres in delta districts came up for further hearing on Monday, first the government flatly denied any irregularities at these centres.
However, a counter-affidavit filed by managing director of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) stated officials were demanding ₹30 to ₹40 per bag for procurement of paddy. The affidavit said six special teams had conducted 1,725 inspections at procurement centres and action was taken against 105 officials found indulging in corrupt practices.
The judges pointed out the contradiction in the government stand and directed it to file a detailed affidavit explaining the nature of corruption of the 105 officials, number of FIRs registered against them and money seized from them.
Citing media reports that ₹2 lakh unaccounted cash was seized from a procurement centre in Tiruvallur district, the judges said the raid and seizure would prove the contention of the PIL-petitioner, who stated that officials were demanding bribe for procurement.
In his PIL, Suryaprakasam sought a direction to the state government to establish adequate number of paddy procurement centres across the state so that the produce could be procured from farmers without any delay.

During the previous hearing, the court shot a series of queries and sought details such as the number of paddy procurement centres in the state, whether temporary shelters have been put up to safeguard paddy during rains and the number of paddy bags damaged in rains. The court also sought to know whether or not officers demanded bribe from farmers and whether the authorities were procuring paddy from private traders instead of genuine farmers.
Adjourning further hearing by a week, the judges said based on Justice A K Rajan Commission’s report, the state had passed a GO in 2010 on holding officials at every level accountable. They directed the state government to explain the steps taken with regard to the GO. They also sought the Centre’s response on revisiting the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions, so as to award higher penalty to officials involved in corrupt practices.

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