As support for Indian anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare accelerates, India is actually in the middle of the pack as far as corruption in countries around the world are concerned,

Last October, when the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) released the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) -- its annual list of the most and least corrupt countries in the world – India finished in 87th place in a field of 180 countries. (That meant that there were 93 countries more corrupt than India).

Huguette Labelle, the chairperson of TI, recently told ET Insight, an English-language Indian television news program: “The economic cost [of corruption in India] is huge… [Billions of dollars] leaves India every year through illicit [measures], whether it is tax evasion, money laundering or the like. This represents about 16.6 percent of India’s GDP.”

A study by the Global Financial Integrity Group estimated the illicit outflow from India at about $462 billion.

Hazare, a former winner of an ‘Integrity Award’ from TI, was arrested and is now undergoing a fast – he is protesting that the government’s new anti=corruption legislation doesn’t go far enough because it does not provide for investigations of possible corruption by the Prime Minister, top judges and other senior government officials.

TI India said it condemned the arrest of Hazare as well as the detention of other anti-corruption activists as “unconstitutional and a violation of civil liberties.”

“[The government] has not been able to check rising corruption in the country and is trying to muzzle the voice of those who raise their voice against corruption. This is undemocratic and [an] injustice to the people of this nation,” said Anupama Jha, TI India’s executive director in a statement.

TI further said that the Indian public’s trust in its own government’s ability to stamp out corruption is low following a series of recent corruption scandals involving high-level officials,

TI’s own survey showed that 74 percent of Indians think corruption has increased in last three years and only 25 percent believe the government’s efforts to fight corruption have been worked.