In tune with its electoral promise to battle corruption, the Aam Aadmi (common man) Party government has launched a helpline to allow people to report corrupt practises in government offices in Delhi.

The helpline number made public on Wednesday is the first-ever launched by any political party in India to tackle the menace of corruption in public offices.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "The helpline would empower citizens of Delhi."

Complainants against corrupt officials in public offices can now phone the number and register an initial complaint.

Proof against the corrupt officer should be recorded in audio or video form and submitted as initial evidence to the anti-corruption branch to proceed to investigate the offender.

Kejriwal also said that the guilty would be arrested within 24 hours of receiving the complaint with evidence by the anti-corruption branch.

He said that the task requested by the citizen who was harassed for giving a bribe will be completed immediately following his registering the complaint.

Citizens as vigilantes

Speaking to reporters in the Indian capital, New Delhi, Kejriwal said the helpline centre would also provide information to citizens on how to carry out a sting operation using audio or video recording devices.

The recording would serve as corroborating evidence besides the complaint. The intent is to make citizen vigilantes or "anti-corruption inspectors", Kejriwal said.

Sting operations made headlines in India in 2007, when politicians, including from the opposition BJP, were caught taking bribe in front of a spying camera in an operation done by journalists of Tehelka news website

The AAP’s main plank for seeking elections was on the issue of ushering in honesty and transparency in public life. Kejriwal had in his oath taking speech as Chief Minister promised to tackle the endemic problem of bribery and corruption in public offices.

"There are many honest government employees. But there are black sheep amongst them," and this helpline will help bring them to book, he said.

Former anti-corruption branch police officer N Dilip Kumar will be advisor to the helpline project. Kumar is known to have exposed several corrupt officials using sting operations during his tenure with the anti-corruption branch.

Source: Al Jazeera