As the debate over transparency in the higher echelons of the government rages on and top officials in government agencies continue to stonewall activists' demands to declare their assets, a grassroot-level public servant has set an example of sorts by making public the list of his movable and immovable properties on Facebook, the social networking site that now connects the world.
Police Inspector Bhanupratap Barge, who is attached to the Social Security Cell of the Crime Branch, has put up his property declaration on his Facebook wall at a time when Anna Hazare's anti-graft movement has gripped the imagination of the nation.
While the move by an inspector-level officer to voluntarily declare his assets is noteworthy and may bring a round of applause from citizens who otherwise go hammer and tongs at the police force for alleged corruption and inefficiency, it needs to be seen whether others who don the khaki uniform will follow in Barge's footsteps.
Barge's move comes in the backdrop of a recent state government declaration that property details of all state IPS officers will go online. At a time when the police department has been facing charges of graft, inefficiency, infighting and apathy, Barge's decision may help change the perception that the force does not attract good officers.
Barge joined the force in 1985. He is an officer associated with the shootout at Lokhandwala and he has even put Sikh terrorists behind bars. The arrest of four Pakistani spies in the city is also credited to his name. Barge also recently won the President's medal.
While Barge declined to comment on what prompted him to take such a step, sources in the force said frequent allegations against police officers of amassing property made the officer desirous of changing the general perception about police officers.Barge's declaration
The property details available on Police Inspector Bhanupratap barge's wall on Facebook shows he has no immovable property in his name. He has Rs. 5,69,919 in fixed deposits and has a balance of Rupees Rs 8,06,176.55. He has mentioned 90 tolas of gold including, 50 tolas by inheritance and 20 tolas inherited by him from his late father.
Barge has claimed that his wife and his son have their own properties and income from different sources and he doesn't have any contribution in the purchase of property or any share in their income. Both of them are filing income tax every year as per law.
Barge has also added that after his father expired on May 11, 2011, and as per his registered will, he will be getting share in inheritance property and debts/liabilities after issuance of probate order from Hon. Court and has shown readiness to declare it in his next submission.