The Supreme Court has banned mining in the Aravalli Hills to stop degradation the forest cover and to maintain ecological balance. However, the stone mining to still prevalent in the border district of the affected State with connivance of certain corrupt forest officials and politicians. Young and dynamic SP who was recently posted in the affected district promised to himself to stop this menace. In one of his surprise checks with his team, he found loaded truck with stone trying to escape the mining area. He tried to stop the truck but the truck driver overrun the police officer, killing him on the spot and thereafter managed to flee. Police filed FIR but no breakthrough was achieved in the case for almost three months. Ashok who was the Investigative Journalist working with leading TV channel, suo moto started investigating the case. Within one month, Ashok got breakthrough by interacting with local people, stone mining masia and government officials. He prepared his investigative story and presented to the CMD of the TV channel. He exposed in his investigative report the complete nexus of stone mafia working with blessing of corrupt police and civil officials and politicians. The politician who was involved in the mafia was no one else but local MLA who was considered to be very close to the Chief Minister. After going through the investigative report, the CMD advised Ashok to drop the idea of making the story public through electronic media. He informed that the local MLA was not only the relative of the owner of the TV channel but also had unofficially 20 percent share in the channel. The CMD further informed Ashok that his further promotion and hike in pay will be taken care of in addition the soft loan of 10 lakhs which he has taken from the TV channel for his son’s chronic disease will be suitably adjusted if he hands over the investigative report to him. [2022]

(a) What are the options available with Ashok to cope up with the situation?
(b) Critically evaluate/examine each of the options identified by Ashok.
(c) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Ashok?
(d) Which of the options, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Ashok to adopt and why?
(e) In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for police officers posted to such districts where stone mining illegal activities are rampant?


a) Some options available to Ashok in this situation include:

  • Continuing with his plan to make the investigative report public through electronic media, despite the opposition of the CMD and potential backlash from the TV channel owner and local MLA.
  • Handing over the investigative report to the CMD, as requested, and accepting the offered financial compensation and promotions in exchange.
  • Seeking the support of other media outlets or journalism organizations to help him publish the report and bring attention to the issue.
  • Seeking the help of external organizations or agencies, such as anti-corruption agencies or NGOs, to expose the corruption and illegal stone mining in the area.

b) Critically evaluating each option:

  • Continuing with the plan to make the report public through electronic media could potentially result in significant consequences for Ashok, including professional backlash, legal issues, and personal safety risks. However, it could also potentially lead to the exposure of corruption and bring about positive change in the area.
  • Handing over the report to the CMD and accepting the offered compensation could allow Ashok to avoid negative consequences and potentially improve his financial and professional standing. However, it could also compromise his journalistic integrity and contribute to the ongoing corruption and illegal activities.
  • Seeking the support of other media outlets or journalism organizations could help mitigate the risks of going public with the report, and potentially lead to wider exposure of the issue. However, it may also be difficult to find support, and the report may still face challenges in getting published.
  • Seeking the help of external organizations or agencies could also help mitigate the risks of going public with the report, and potentially lead to the exposure of corruption and illegal activities. However, it may also be difficult to find willing and able partners, and the process could take a long time.

c) The ethical dilemmas faced by Ashok in this situation include:

  • The potential conflict of interest between his professional duties as a journalist and his personal financial and professional interests.
  • The potential risk to his safety and well-being if he chooses to go against the CMD’s request and make the report public.
  • The potential compromise of his journalistic integrity if he accepts the offered financial compensation and promotions in exchange for not publishing the report.
  • The potential harm to the public if he chooses not to expose the corruption and illegal activities.

d) The most appropriate option for Ashok to adopt may depend on his personal values, risk tolerance, and resources available to him. However, one potential option could be seeking the support of other media outlets or journalism organizations to help him publish the report and bring attention to the issue. This could allow him to expose the corruption and illegal activities, while mitigating some of the personal risks and potential conflict of interest.

e) To effectively combat illegal stone mining and corruption in districts like the one described in the scenario, it may be helpful for police officers to receive training in:

  • Ethics and integrity, to ensure they are able to uphold the law and resist corruption.
  • Investigating and exposing corruption, including techniques for gathering and analyzing evidence, and building cases against corrupt individuals and organizations.
  • Protecting and supporting whistleblowers and other individuals who may be at risk for exposing corruption.
  • Working with external organizations or agencies, such as anti-corruption agencies or NGOs, to help identify and address corruption and illegal activities.
Mind map notes for UPSC
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