Friday, 27 July 2012

Corruption close at hand

A few days ago I posted a reflection on how the ones at the door decide who meets the boss inside and at what cost.  What if, the one inside itself decides about the cost?  After making us run about for nearly five months, the Income Tax officer, finally made his request, that too not directly to me but to our auditor:  Rs 5,000/- I thought it would be over with that and I gladly went with that amount covered under a pile of documents he asked for (certainly as an envelope). Imagine my surprise when he lifted the envelope and told me that it was Rs 50,000/- that he asked for and not Rs 5,000/-

In telugu there is a saying which when translated questions thus:  What does one do when the fence erected to protect the crop, starts eating the very crop it is supposed to protect?  Here is an IRS level officer commissioned to curb illegal trade and regulate the justice system and he himself is asking for bribe.  I would have even understood his 'request' if it were to shut an eye about some of the mistakes on our part.  But from our side we have been, and are clean, down to the last bit of facts and figures.  He absolutely had no reason to ask for money (other than proving his character).

At this particular juncture, I'm in a dilemma.  Almost all suggest that we negotiate the price and pay up. What of all my principles and values?  What of all the talks and reflections I share with my students with the hope that they grow up to be citizens and persons of integrity?  Either way, I stand to lose!

Corruption was indeed a very heated topic of discussion... till now.  Now it is personal! 

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