Corruption higher at VP level: Architect


Architect Rahul Deshpande, who exposed corruption in his Ucassaim village panchayat by laying a trap and facilitating the arrest of Sarpanch and Secretary while accepting a bribe, last Friday, claimed that corruption at village panchayat level is of higher magnitude than anywhere else. 
“Corruption at panchayat level is much more than at the MLA level. It is not a blank statement. There is chaos at every gram sabha because people don’t have trust in it (panchayat) anymore,” Deshpande said in an interview with HCN titled ‘war against corruption’. 
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Ucassaim Sarpanch Rajesh Dabale and secretary Uday Naik while accepting a bribe of Rs 70,000 from Deshpande. 
The duo had demanded over Rs 2 lakh which was brought down to Rs 1.70 lakh by Deshpande, who had applied for a construction license on behalf of his client based on power of attorney after getting all clearances from the town and country planning for renovation of a house.
“MLAs are answerable to the people. They have to produce facts in the Assembly but there is no accountability at panchayat level,” the architect said, justifying his statement on corruption. 
“Gram sabhas can be manipulated. The panchayat secretary is the final authority. He is not accountable to anyone,” Deshpande added. Citing an instance of an alleged illegal construction in his village panchayat, Deshpande said Ucassaim is the most corrupt panchayat than other panchayats. 
“Deemed provision should be made (in granting construction licences). A deadline should be set for giving licences. If the deadline expires, then it should be considered as deemed licence,” the architect suggested. 
Deshpande’s detailed interview about the raid, response from the ACB officials, response from his family and friends after the expose, will be telecast on HCN all through this week.  [H]