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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
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Under A Dangerous Motto

By refusing to take bribes, the Madurai collector has earned 18 transfers in 20 years, a modest house and bank balance and lots of respect

Under A Dangerous Motto
R.A. Chandroo
Under A Dangerous Motto
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Trigger Why we are doing this story

  • Because the assets of an IAS officer-couple in Madhya Pradesh were valued at Rs 360 crore. They had 25 flats in three cities.

***

On a hot summer afternoon, on Madurai’s busy main road, the district collector, U. Sagayam, saw a young man talking on a cellphone while riding a motorbike. He asked his driver to wave the man down, got down from his car and meted out instant punishment: plant 10 saplings within 24 hours. Somewhat unconventional justice, some might say. But that’s how Sagayam works.

‘Lanjam Thavirtthu, Nenjam Namartthu’ (Reject bribes, hold your head high), says a board hanging above Sagayam’s chair in his modest office. That’s the code he lives by, even if politicians are incensed they cannot bend him their way—he’s been transferred 18 times in the last 20 years—and has made enemies of both...

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