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Bribe payer is an equal Criminal, Agree?

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Yes
42% (13 votes)
No
48% (15 votes)
Can't say
10% (3 votes)
Total votes: 31

Comments

silkboard's picture

To keep my response short, I put a no

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To me, if a guy worth 5000 Rs a month throws 100 rupee notes to get his work done, he is equal or more criminal than the bribe taker. I hate the fact that he dislikes the "hassles", and buys his way out in "just get it done yaar" fashion.

But if a 5000 Rs a month guy has to shell out 100 Rs bribes, he is probably not at fault. The money means a lot to him, so he would be more willing to try out some help from Lokayukta and alike. But he bribes as he doesn't have many options.

Not that the bribe takers are not "sensitive" to this. I tested this out at K R Puram RTO. Wasn't really the bribe takers, but the agents. Went on  a bike once and once on a car to get the same work done. Biker rate - Rs 800. Car Rate, Rs 2200. I used my broken Kannada on both the occasions, so that was a constant factor on both occasions.

As far as the urgency and importance of getting work done is concerned, everyone's work is equally important.

swamy's picture

demand or supply?

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What comes first, demand or supply? think maadi, then vote.
Naveen's picture

I Vote "Yes"

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I put "Yes".

My logic is as follows :

1) For each bribe-taker, there may be several, if not hundreds of bribe givers from the public, who will all get away.

2) The very large no. of bribe givers will be tempted to do it again since they get away anyway & the chances for the system to correct itself or remain in check will be jeopardized.

3) Not punishing bribe givers will also encourage them to violate more rules & other procedures.
Photoyogi's picture

No, Not really

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Consider a trivial case:
I have a Child going to nursery school.
If i pay the Aaya 100 Rs as a token of gratitude it isnt a bribe paid is it?
But however if the Aaya demands being paid to do the job and i pay 100 Rs that might be termed as a bribe.
I could go to the principle and report the issue and had the aaya loose the job and a warning to the other staff.

When you extend this to a more serious issue like getting a Khatha certificate from BBMP (essentially a computer printout)
I was demanded 1000 Rs. Ridiculous i said and said let me wait for the prescribed 3 days and then poke around if there is an issue.
Eventually i got the khatha certificate without having to pay the bribe but i was inconvenienced 2-3 times.
In this case, if i did paid the bribe i dont think am  a party to the crime as i was victimized and the bribe was demanded.
So this generally would mean lack of education on the part of the citizens that result in Bribe giving.

In continuation with what i was given to understand with the meeting with Lokayukta chief, These offences MUST be reported to Lokayukta, least tell the offending official that you will go to Lokayukta i am sure he/she will know you mean business.

--
PhotoYogi 

-- PhotoYogi

Naveen's picture

Promotes Educative Trends

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Photoyogi,

My view is that discouraging bribe givers by punishing them for paying also educates them not to pay gratitudes in return for official favors - & will promote the correct principle that this practice is wrong.

I am not sure if giving Rs.100/- to an aaya without any demand for favors can be quantified as a bribe. Such instances are many. Even in other parts of the world, we do offer tips to stewards after a meal & to hotel drivers when they pickup or drop us off, though they are supposed to be free transfers by the hotel, dont we ? Can we call these bribes - I think not.

In India, the difference between bribes & tips is somewhat obscure & the dividing line between the two is too blurred. In any case, paying tips & paying bribes for khatas is quite different & the latter clearly goes against principles of fair practices.

Being ignorant & paying a bribe to get work done, followed by condoning it on the basis of the individual's ignorance will only compound the problem further, whereas punishing all will set the trend to educate all.
bijeshkrishnadas's picture

imho No

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If I paid a bribe to use a "shortcut" or get my work done faster, then I agree I am a criminal. This is not the case 90% of the time. Usually it is "pay the bribe or your work won't get done". If by not paying a bribe all I had to do was wait for the process to take its course, there is no problem. But if not paying a bribe means you are made to run around for no reason and the process is stalled/delayed/ignored, what then?

--
Bijesh

Naveen's picture

Nobody Can Ignore Your Work

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Nobody can ignore your work, though they will try to stall it or delay it to try to extract money. Most people lose patience & pay up - this is where the problem is since this encourages them to demand a bribe from everybody.

There are ways to get over this stalling. An appeal can be filed, or a call to LokAyukta or the next higher authority can be of help. If this still does not work, an official, written complaint can be filed & a receipt asked for.

The problem is that most people do not want to go through these processes, but simply pay up to save themselves the burden of "lost time" & to avoid any "headaches", & life goes on !

If most of us do not pay for fear of punishment, there are better chances of righting the system, but if bribe givers are let off as "innocent", there will be too many such "innocents" & the system will never improve.
murali772's picture

bribes & mamools

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Mine is a definite no!

I had made a convenient differentiation between bribe and 'mamool'. Bribe was when you wanted to jump the queue, whereas 'mamool' was for getting your rightful position in the queue. I had little option other than to come to terms with paying 'mamools'. Check: http://praja.in/bangalore/discuss/2008/09/hall-shame#comment-7723. (comment no 10 - raaj-less inspection).

When the demand became far higher than the term would normally imply is when trouble arose. There were plenty of instances; I can write reams on those. Once, I even went on National television, Nalini Singh interviewing me, and stated it all, inviting the government to arrest me since as the 'giver', I am equally guilty.

It's on the back of all these experiences that I am saying that the only solution is less government. Check: http://praja.in/blog/murali772/2007/12/29/less-government

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Paying a Bribe = Accepting Coruption

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Mr.Murali,
I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say that "mamool" is not the same as a "bribe".

A bribe is :
1) Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position to influence that person's views or conduct; or
2) Something serving to influence or persuade or to gain influence through corrupt means.

If you condone the practice of paying "mammol" (I prefer to call it a bribe, & do not see any difference), such payment would still be encouraging corrupt practices, would'nt it ?

Elsewhere, you had also mentioned that you were against high amounts as fines for traffic violations. Do you also consider the smaller bribe amounts that traffic cops demand now (since fines are also not severe) as "mamools" ?

In neighbouring Chennai, fines for traffic violations are much higher than in Bangalore - may be this explains why traffic is better disciplined there. So, I really do not understand your position.

Could you please clarify, thanks.
silkboard's picture

bribe vs mamool

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I think Murali is saying this. You pay money in two situations

  • You either can't wait for your turn, or want to get a leg up on those who are ahead of you in the queue. For example, paying the gas agency to get your cylinder before others waiting in line. Or paying up Rs 1000 to get an address change done in your driving license where as it would take just Rs 30 and perhaps 20 extra mins of your time if you would have the patience to just go and ask at the "help me" counter.
  • the other type of bribe is to get in the queue itself. Example: paying a bribe to get your pension. My mom gets some from a public sector company my dad was employed with. The pension stopped showing up. I had two options. Visit the pension office in a city 2000 km away from Bangalore a couple of times to get it sorted out (a stupid name spelling error) the right way, or 'pay up' via my friends there. Seeing the Bangalore residence address, I guess some smart guy there must have figured out that I might prefer to go for the 'cheaper' option.

The second case is where I don't think the bribe payer is an equal criminal. When people on the other side of the counter misuse their access to information, and when the complaint mechanisms don't work or exist- the consumer/citizen is just too disadvantaged to put up a fight.

But in the first case, perhaps the bribe giver is more at fault than the taker. You pay our way out to get things done fast, and by doing that 1) you encourage bribe-takers, 2) make life difficult for others who line up fair and square.

Go to any RTO and see how the agents working for big name car dealerships walk free with registration applications in their hand, as if they were the RTO employees themselves. Thats your "Rs 1000" misc vehicle registration charges at work.

Mind you though, that of late, government has figured out ways of legalizing such cases. Pay more, and get priority service - what are tatkal tickets? what are VIP and VVIP passes to say Tirupati Balaji temple? You are getting faster service at the expense of slowing down others - is that an acceptable argument?

Naveen's picture

Get Yr Point

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I get the point, but there is some difference - the tatkal schemes, etc. are legal & the proceeds go to the govt, whereas "Mamool" goes to the individial's pocket.

I think the term has been picked from street vendors who hawk on footpaths on roads in "No Hawking" zones, & pay "Mamool" to the cop for permitting them to continue. If they dont pay up, the cop will chase them off !

Anyway, this would still be a bribe, as defined above, though there is a subtle difference between the two.
murali772's picture

pleading guilty!

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SB - Thanks for the elaboration; they were quite apt.

Naveen - I don't know if you read my entire post on 'raaj-less inspection'. While I had admitted to having been paying 'mamools', I was in no way justifying it. What I had stated was that I had made a 'convenient' differentiation between the two evils, and had come to terms with the lesser of the evils. Without that, it would have been impossible to carry on a business. You can check this out with any businessman. The so-called 'clean businesses' engage agents to do their dirty jobs.

As for not supporting heavier fines - Like I have stated earlier, I would like to see the traffic police enforce rules impartially across all classes of vehicles - particularly yellow board ones, autos, and govt vehicles, before they start increasing the fine levels. Isn't that a reasonable expectation?

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
Nitinjhanwar's picture

Fees is not a bribe.

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Lets put it this way: You either beg or "bribe".

Begging doesn't work always.

The most recent example is that of Condella Rice- GOI begged for her support.
She gave it.

Pakisthan Government told her we can't give you our troops to fight the Aghanis if we go to war with India.
She gave them their support and according to her- GOI has to work together with GOP.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/dec/04mumterror-rice-in-pakistan-seeks-robust-justice.htm

So you see the so called outdated word "bribe " is basically paying a fees.

After the fees is paid and THAT work is not done than whose liability it is?

nJ

-nJ-

919462900144

www.nitinjhanwar.biz

songbird3's picture

Bribe payer etc.

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At the outset I hold that bribe has become a way of life and governance in our country. It has not spared even a basic sector like education. Expenditure required to get even admission into institutions of higher learning has grown astronomically beyond the capacity of an ordinary citizen. One cannot get anything done in government offices at all levels without reference to bribe in one form or another. In sum we have become a democracy of the nethas, by the nethas, and for the nethas. It needs a sea change to hope for good governance aimed at welfare of the subjects.
murali772's picture

yes, Mr Basu

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Chief Economic Advisor, Kaushik Basu (in a paper that he clarifies has been written in his private capacity) argues that there is a class of bribes that people often have to pay to get what they are legally entitled to. He calls these “harassment bribes”.

Currently, both the bribe giver and the bribe taker are criminally liable according to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Mr Basu says this should change and the entire punishment should be heaped on the bribe taker and the bribe giver should not be penalised at all, at least not for the act of offering or giving the bribe. Such a change in the law will cause a dramatic drop in the incidence of bribery because once a bribe is given, the giver and the taker become partners in crime. It is in their joint interest to keep this fact hidden from the police and to be fugitives from the law, because, if caught, both can expect to be punished.

A public servant who takes the bribe is the gate keeper who violates his responsibility and sells the property he is supposed to protect. “Since bribery is not a case of theft but of collaboration between two agents, the primary moral responsibility for it rests on the shoulder of the bribe taker,” he says.


For the full report in the Business Standard, click here

Looks very much like Mr Basu has gone through the debate here. The question that arises is can he as the CEA to the government bring about the all-important change?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Trade licence

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Narrated below is the first hand experience of a fauji officer:
 
Bribery is a menace. Today, it is also a well developed art. After all, it takes a lot of skill to create and exploit weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a system and use it to milk the hapless public. They are everywhere - but the smartest and the most blatant ones, I dare say, are right in our home state - Karnataka! We voice, curse, campaign etc., but unfortunately, in a world full of everyday vulnerabilities and hurdles, almost everyone succumbs to it, often against their own will and values.
 
The military ethos of integrity and honesty (besides others) run in my blood, (often to my own peril)! I was not born like this though. In fact I was the most indisciplined and unmanageable rogue amongst my siblings. An avid reader, one day my mother saw a notification in the newspaper for the admission of deserving children to Sainik Schools, a premium educational institution preparing children for the National Defence Academy (NDA), a place where future officers of all three services are trained together . It wasn’t long, before I sailed through all the tests and interviews and landed in a place where the days became too long and nights too short and you lived the whole day in and out of uniforms. You also had homesickness as your perpetual companion, that always left your tiny chest heavy and those little innocent eyes wet. I was sorted in no time!
 
Seven years there, three years in NDA, a year at IMA(Indian Military Academy), I was a smart soldier officer at the age of twenty, leading hardened troops, at an age, where the boys of present generation are just getting out of their nappies. So bribery, corruption, politics were never on the menu for me. I also learned very early in life that just as the art of taking a bribe is a highly specialised skill, so was the art of giving a bribe. 
 
Here's how: In 1985, I had married my wife, in Srinagar, and it was our first trip ever together from Jammu to Nasik. The long journey required you to spend two nights in the train. Unfortunately, I could obtain only one berth despite all my efforts and was on RAC for the other. I was assured by both friend and foe, the ones that normally surround you at that age, that I would be able to 'manage' it easily in the train. "Just be nice to the TTE", was their advice. We boarded with the all the anxieties, typical of newly weds, and waited more anxiously for the TTE. He heard me out and went away. The train rattled on into the night and nothing happened. So I took a deep breath and went looking for the TTE. 
 
I found him and after the pleasantries, leaned towards him, and with my best smile said, "Kuch ho sakta hai kya"? "Nahin bhai, abhi tak koi khali nahin hai", he was sympathetically helpless! So I did the one thing that I never did before, the courage and confidence coming from the newly wedded heart, that was now pounding strangely, and said: "Adjust kee jiye na, Jo len-den hai, koi problem nahin hai, Jitna bhi ho, bol dee jiyega". This was the best I could do and thought at the time, was the right way to do the wrong thing!!! He looked up at me. His eyes looked huge and dangerous through the thick glasses and thundered "Umar kya hai Tera"? Shit! This was not supposed to lead like this. I was confused suddenly and whimpered "Pachees". "You know, my youngest son is elder to you" Sharam nahin aata hai aapko, rishwant dene mein"?
 
Till that moment all I knew was that all TTEs were corrupt and purchasable. And I had to get stuck with probably the only honest TTE in the whole of India. He made me sit down and took my class till the next stop (half an hour) explaining the "Quota" system and how these get released on reaching each station. There were three more stations with quota ahead and if available he would allot it to me. He did!
 
So I decided never to try that again. Also, I would be dishonest if I claim I never bribed, I have, but all through agents, never direct. Every house owner in Ulsoor knows, that there is an amount directly proportional to the sale price, that one pays to the Sub registrar to get the registration done. Paying bribes through third party gives one a false sense of uprightness. The system of bribe has got institutionalised through agents and brokers and there is no getting away from it. 
 
So the reader would now understand, how it would have effected me when the first direct demand for bribe hit me - the real bribe, purely exploiting, probably my only vulnerability - my daughters!!! (Every father will understand). So this is the story of Saravanan, our 'friendly neighbourhood' politician, a paper parchment called 'trade licence' and my Achilles heel of vulnerability, my daughter!
 
Saravanan - what a name! it invokes piety. Also a derivative of 'Sravan', who took his parents on an arduous pilgrimage carrying him on his shoulders, due to poor public transportation system at the time! It was remarkable, considering that, even with such high tech and high speed mobility available today, no one has the time or inclination for being a Shravan!
 
The name Saravanan fills me with nothing but expletives after this episode. My daughter has been running a salon and spa since 2008. It was initially at Indiranagar 100 feet road. But as luck would have it, she had to shift the same to Ulsoor in 2010. Obtaining the trade licence in Indira Nagar did not pose much problems.
 
In 2010, the trade licence needed only an address change. This was easily done. Some time, I think in 2013, The BBMP, rightfully, came up with some additional requirements: Submission of occupation certificate, Parking proof and a garbage clearance contract. 
 
Obtaining a trade licence and its renewal, is actually a simple process, and is all online. But the application never moves as there are several physical inspections and confirmation that is done before the licence is issued. These "physical" processes were the "loopholes" Saravanan exploited.
 
Somehow, Saravanan managed to put a wedge in the process, where in, unless an OK for the parking and garbage disposal was given by him, the trade licences were not to be renewed or issued. Unfortunately for my daughter, her CA, who was handling the matter, delayed the renewal process, in the same year, and the application was rejected asking to submit the documents afresh. 
 
Earlier, the occupation certificate was not necessary, so long as the property had a commercial permit. The owner of the property did not have the same, but the property was a commercial one. The Salon had its designated parking and like every other place in Bangalore, that never planned for parking, the salon was not an exception. Similar issue was faced by other commercial ventures in the area. Garbage disposal contract was not an issue and was easily resolved. 
 
The actual problem was, Saravanan wanted a huge price for giving his approval on the parking that, was non existent everywhere in Bangalore!!! He would give an approval if he was paid a price. My daughter submitted the documents as required, furnishing the required details. She didn’t see any reason why she would not get the licence renewed as several other commercial ventures were operating all around her with the same shortcomings. Then suddenly, the health inspector started visiting frequently. 
 
Initially he was aggressive, when I intervened, he sobered down and was apologetic and helpless and said he was only operating on the corporator's behest and for any genuine resolution I should speak with him. I obtained his address in Ulsoor and dropped in at his office the next day. The term "Corporator" gave me an impression that he probably would have a huge, swank office with all amenities. But I landed in a 10 feet x 10 feet, cubicle in the centre of the Ulsoor market. With benches for seats. I reached there at 1000 hours. There was a lady, who was starting a 'ladies only hostel', on Aga Abbas Ali Road, also waiting there. We waited for hours and finally called up his number. A very polite, apologetic voice greeted me and suggested I meet him tomorrow at 1000 hours. I should call him around 0900h and he will tell me where. Similar instructions were given to the lady, who told me later that it has been several days since the time she has been trying to meet him. Her issues were same as my daughter's.
 
And so a Tom and Jerry game started between Saravanan and me, first I call, he gives the time and place, often some road junction or such landmark and he would never come. Hours after the appointed time, I would get a call, and he would profusely apologise and express his regret, and give me a fresh time and place. I was finally tired and told him that I was a working man, and needed to travel a lot, and can't get away from my work, like this, every day. I needed a closure. Probably this was his ploy, to tire his prey out so that I would be willing to do anything to end the ordeal!
 
So finally I met him, the next day, just outside the parlour on Ulsoor road. He was in a swank Innova. He never got down. To me he looked like a typical hoodlum, there were two three others looking like him, also in the car. In those days there was a trend of huge banners, and bill boards all over Bangalore, that had a cluster of photos, of what looked like that of the local history sheeters, with a slightly larger sized photos of the Central Political Party leaders in the centre. The guys in the car were all straight from the bill boards. 
 
I kept my cool. I spoke in Kannada, because a non Kannada speaking guy, normally gets fried straight away. Sure enough, it bore fruit and there was a slight shift in his approach. After the preliminaries and pleasantries, I said, (in Kannada), "Mr. Saravana, I am an ex fauji, I don’t understand these complications. What is that you are looking for?"
 
"Saar, parking is a praablam", I can't help it". I said that I have arranged for valet service like every other business establishment in the city as there are no parking facility anywhere but on the road side. "But that does not solve the problem" he insisted.
 
I didn’t want to get the matter complicated or unresolved by demanding to know how others in the area are operating with valet service. I wanted to be at peace when I was away from home and didn’t want my daughter or wife being harassed by these goons or the health inspector or any other official who came with the sole intent of harassing them. 
 
I felt extremely vulnerable and helpless and so asked: "Eshtu" (How much)? I couldn’t hide my anguish. His eyes lit up. I probably was speaking his intended language now! "Enaadaru Kodi sir" (Whatever you wish sir) , he genuinely sounded generous and willing to negotiate. My frustration kicked in and said : "Friend had I known this is what I had to face after I left the fauj, I would have collected enough money like you while in service. I should have asked for bribe for everything I did from people (scums) like you. You tell me how much"
 
Suddenly the entire service I had rendered, risks I had taken, sufferings I had endured serving under inhospitable terrain, the countless years of separation from my family all came rushing to my mind as a kaleidoscope of events. It was one massive feeling of betrayal.
 
But I needed to protect my child, so I lumped it, in disgust! "Saar, Neevu, ex Army aaada dikke, nimge haguvadu kodi. Enu thondara illa. Neevu eshtu Kodu bodu? (Sir, because you are ex-army, Give whatever you can, no problem, How much can you give?). So he was being extremely considerate and is Ok whatever I could. I almost believed him!
 
"25000 rupees" I said, hopefully. He broke into a long heavy laughter, as if I had cracked a fantastic joke. When he finished he said, smiling. " Saar, Ex army ge, 3 Lakhs saar. Adirinda Kammi haagalla (Sir, for ex army 3 Lakhs, cant reduce any further). I have to give the share to others also". So it was an organised loot. It is not possible to earn a honest livelihood in this country, I reflected sadly. 
 
Finally after considerable amount of coaxing, the price was fixed at 1 Lakh. The trade licence was delivered soon after. Nothing additional had been done, towards the BBMP requirement from before, except the 1 Lakh bribe. 
 
I heard the lady I met at the 10 feet x 10 feet cubicle, had to pay 3 Lakhs for her venture.
 
OK. The story doesn’t end there. My daughter, unable to renew her lease on Ulsoor road, in 2017, shifted her venue to Houdin Road. Saravana struck again, when she applied for a fresh trade licence. Everything was in order as far as the application was concerned. But we had to speak to Saravana for the licence. I went to the concerned office, they would not budge, neither would they give anything in writing, to justify their inaction.
 
Soon, the health inspector started his visits. We refused to pay. There were no observations, but there was no progress too, on the application. I finally sought something I never wanted to do, "political intervention"! It is with dismay I say this, today, unless you have a political 'connection' or a bureaucratic 'connection', you simply have to depend on luck and bribes to live peacefully in this country of ours. Those who don’t agree with me, I am sorry, you don’t because you have these connections, so you simply don’t know what people like me go through!!!.
 
Before I proceeded with this ultimate solution,("Brahmastra"), my daughter pulled a surprise on me. She sold the business and spared me the trouble I actually wanted to avoid. Because political patronage comes with obligations, that you sometimes, may not be able to return.
 
It was only when the fresh elections for the corporator came up recently, I realised that Saravana was not the corporator, but it was his wife. I am yet to recover from such outrageous impudence !!!
 
Actually, there's nothing new here. This is what every citizen faces on a daily basis in the country, I'd think. But, one had thought that, at least when it came to fauji's, these merceneries would not stoop to extracting their pound of flesh, this way. Apparently, no - all of that makes very little difference to them. 
 
Well, at the end of it all, a budding entrepreneur wound up her business, out of sheer frustration - that much for the much-touted "Atmanirbhar".
 
The answer I'd think lies in exposing the lot. I had attempted it through Doordarshan of old (scroll above to check my post of 2nd Dec, 2008). Today, we have the social media in addition. Let's keep at it - the change will have to come! 
Muralidhar Rao

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