Images of documents attached to bundles of cash, said to be from the Road Transport Authority (RTA) at Patancheru in Hyderabad, triggered off a massive row on social media on Wednesday.
The images went viral after speculation that the bundles of cash were alleged bribes being given to officials at the RTA office.
The images first surfaced on Twitter after they were uploaded by BT Srinivasan, General Secretary of the United Federation of Residents' Welfare Associations.
“Someone posted these pictures of Patancheru RTO Office on my Facebook timeline. Driving license, new vehicle registration, renewal applications are nicely arranged with required kickback for approval. Great collective effort by brokers," Srinivasan tweeted.
It was later found that the photos were clicked by members of an NGO, Youth for Anti-Corruption.
“It was a sting operation conducted with the help of a complainant who contacted Youth for Anti-corruption through our Facebook contact. The complainant informed that despite having all qualifications and supporting documents, his file was not being approved for over two months and when the complainant approached the office, he found bribe being demanded to push the file. On May 8, along with the complainant, a team visited the Patancheru RTO office and found a bunch of applications with a bundle of cash pinned to it,” Whistleblower Palnati Rajendra claimed, while speaking to DC.
However, it has come to light that the additional money was not being collected by officials, but by brokers.
As news of the incident spread, RTA officials conducted a preliminary investigation and claimed that the photos were not taken inside the premises of the RTA office at Patancheru.
“The floor, the table and other objects seen in the image do not suggest the image was taken at RTO Patancheru. I have also had the image checked at other RTO offices. We will enquire further and if an official has been found to indulging in such activities, action will be taken,” District Transport Officer for Sangareddy K. Venkata Ramana, told The Hindu.