Representative image.Reuters

After former agriculture minister SS Krishnamurthy's unceremonious exit from the cabinet over the suicide of an agriculture department executive engineer S Muthukumarasamy, the voices against corruption in the state administration are getting louder. The official in charge of the selection process for recruitment of drivers in the department was harassed to manipulate the selection process. He was unable to cope with the trauma and jumped in front of a running train. The incident took place in Tirunelveli last month.

According to CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan, Muthukumarasamy's suicide was not a one-off case. "There is corruption in appointments, promotions and transfers, largely at officers' level, in every department. Straightforward officials suffer because of this," said Ramakrishnan, adding, "Both AIADMK and DMK governments have nurtured corrupt practices and it has gained alarming proportions in the last 10 years."

There is no department which does not have its share of shocking tales as far as corruption is concerned, reports The Times of India.

About two years ago a powerful VIP convened regional meetings of aided college principals and secretaries to raise money from appointments of assistant professors.

A college secretary who attended one such meeting at Tirunelveli circuit house said, "The VIP's PA had summoned both principals and secretaries. The meeting started in the night and the VIP called us one by one into his room and said unless we paid money to him, appointments of new assistant professors would not be approved. He demanded Rs 5 lakh per post from minority institutions and Rs 7 lakh per post from non-minority institutions. If we could not collect money from the candidates, he said he himself would identify suitable candidates."

Many of the college managements have since collected extra money, over and above the Rs 5-10 lakh they collect from candidates, for appointing assistant professors.

As far as the police department is concerned, inspectors as well as deputy superintendents pay money to middlemen to get themselves transferred to preferred locations. "While DSPs pay Rs 4-10 lakh depending on the district and city, inspectors pay Rs 2-3 lakh for transfers," said an official, adding, "A relative of a senior official in Chennai is a prominent collection agent. Anybody who gives money to that agent gets the posting of his choice."

MG Devasahayam, a retired bureaucrat, said that corruption has penetrated all levels of the state administration in a way that people now take it for granted. "It has destroyed the basic fabric of the administration because people get into a position by bribing and also stay there by bribing. There is money in appointments, postings, transfers and stopping transfers. Only the level varies depending on the capacity of politicians to demand and officials to pay. When an official pays money to get a post, his or her effort is focused only on collecting several times more of that from the public," said Devasahayam.