More than 160 cases are pending investigation at the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government, a few of them for almost a decade, latest statistics have revealed. Another 27 of cases registered by the ACB are pending ‘sanction for prosecution’.
Data up to June 2011 shows a whopping 169 cases related to various departments are pending investigation. Of these, more than 30 each are cases pertaining to Delhi Police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi and a little more than 15 to Delhi’s revenue department apart from other departments.
For instance, in a case registered in 2002, investigation is pending against a high-ranking revenue official from Narela. “Forensic science laboratory (FSL) report is awaited, so is some information from ADM/North-west. The role of 10 beneficiaries has been ascertained and a draft chargesheet is under preparation,” ACB told HT in a pointed query about this case.
“We do regular follow-up in each cases by writing letters/ reminders to departments/persons concerned. Those officials have their own reason for delay,” said an ACB official.
In a case registered in 2010, the ACB claimed it is awaiting “record from the health and family welfare department’s recruitment section and other hospitals of NCT of Delhi”.
A senior government official argued, if the departments are not responding, the ACB could go to the court to ask for directions to the delaying departments. “A copy of each FIR is marked to the court. The court has responsibility to monitor the FIRs,” he said.
Raj Mangal Prasad, who had obtained the data through RTI, said, “The very purpose of having an anti-corruption branch is defeated if the cases are kept pending without any time frame.”
But then, it is not just about cases pending investigation. The tardy pace has spilled over to cases that have seen investigation completed but awaiting sanction for prosecution. The competent authority, which has the power to appoint or dismiss that employee, accords prosecution sanction.
ACB officials said, “In 27 cases, prosecution sanction is awaited.” Of these cases too, several are pending since years.
The Supreme Court on January 31 had ruled that the government will have to give the nod to prosecute a corrupt public servant within four months of the request. It would effectively mean the government couldn’t indefinitely delay sanction to try a government employee or official.
“The only silver lining is that if the prosecution sanction does not come in 120 days, it is deemed sanctioned. That is a positive development,” said Shankar Dash, ACP (ACB).