Even as the country is observing ‘Vigilance Awareness Week’ from Monday to fight corruption, the conviction rate in graft cases against government officials in the city and rest of the state this year paints a dismal picture.
Till September 30, the conviction rate in corruption cases disposed of by the courts was a meagre 16% in the Mumbai range. Of the 91 cases decided, 76 ended in acquittal, while only 15 saw conviction.
Similar is the case in the rest of the ranges in the state. In neighbouring Thane, of the 25 corruption cases disposed of, eight resulted in conviction and 17 in acquittal. In Pune, of the 33 cases, there were again only eight convictions.
The Nashik range recorded the lowest conviction rate at 11% — only seven of the 66 cases registered led to punishment.
Altogether, 487 cases were disposed of all over the state, in which 116 resulted in conviction while 371 saw acquittal — a conviction rate of 24%.
Pravin Dixit, director general of the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) said it is necessary to appoint special courts for speedy trails.
“The more time it takes for disposal, more the complainant’s interest deteriorates. It is necessary to set up exclusive courts for corruption cases. Moreover, special public prosecutors should be appointed, and their numbers should also be increased,” he said.
Former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh also said the delay in trial affects the conviction rate.
“The accused, who is a government servant and has some influence, is able to win over the witnesses, may it be through sympathy, pressure or bribery. The officers who investigated the case are transferred or retired,” said Singh, adding that he was appearing in the court for cases that he prosecuted right until till last year, 10 years after his retirement.
“Just as special attention is given during the trap, such attention is also important during the trials. The laws of prosecution are archaic,” he said.
Former IPS officer turned lawyer YP Singh said, “Poor investigation and leaving technical loopholes, like non-application of mind in sanctioning prosecution, results in poor conviction.”