The sentencing of suspended deputy inspector general of police, AK Jain, is a shot in the arm for the anti-corruption bureau (ACB), which has had poor conviction rates in its cases over the years.
Last year, the ACB’s conviction rate was 18% in Mumbai, where it had booked 89 people, mostly government servants, for accepting bribe or amassing disproportionate assets. Of these, 73 were acquitted.
In 2013, all 25 people booked so far have been acquitted.
“We have requested a reward for the investigating team in Jain’s case. Such convictions are a big victory for us, and it will boost the morale,” said Raj Khilnani, director general, ACB.
Khilnani admitted that whenever the accused are influential, the investigation becomes difficult. “The big people do the utmost to save their skin,” he said.
Last year, Bombay high court came down on the ACB for its shoddy investigation into the disproportionate assets case against Congress leader Kripashankar Singh and rejected its assessment of Singh’s assets.
Khilnani said the delay in court proceedings is a problem as it gives the accused time to manipulate the complainant. “At times, they opt for out-of-court settlements. There is a major gap in the date of incident and date of judgment, which leads to low conviction rates,” he said.
Another reason for poor conviction rates is the lack of senior officers in the ACB. The post of additional director general is vacant as are 20 vacancies for deputy commissioner-level officers. “We need more senior officers,” Khilnani said.