Showing strong displeasure over failing to initiate trial proceedings against the accused in the absence of sanction to prosecute, a CBI special judge has sought a report from the cabinet secretary (CS), the CBI director and the department of personnel and training (DoPT) about delay in all the cases where such approval is pending.
According to information available with the Central Vigilance Commission (till August 31, 2013), prosecution sanction was pending against 42 officials for more than four months.
CBI special judge Swarna Kanta Sharma in her order said, “A report is called from the concerned secretaries of the departments where such requests for grant of sanction for prosecution are pending, the CS and the CBI director as well as the DoPT.”
The judge further said the report should contain:
a) number of cases where sanction is pending for more than three months,
b) whether review of delayed cases is being done by all secretaries concerned, the CS, the CBI director and the DoPT under government rules and as per the Supreme Court
guidelines laid down in Vineet Narain case and Dr Subramanian Swamy Vs Dr Manmohan Singh case
c) action taken report from all secretaries concerned — the DoPT, law secretary, law secretary (Delhi), the CS and director, CBI.
The court directed the report should be collected and filed through the CBI director.
The SC had set a time limit of three months for deciding on sanction to prosecute. Later, the government also came up with similar rules to take a call on such approvals.
Under section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, a prior sanction of the department concerned is required to file charges against a public servant.
“Section 19 has been routinely used to save corrupt bureaucrats. This section should be done away with immediately,” said Shanti Bhushan, former union law minister and a patron of Aam Aadmi Party.
Judge Sharma is presiding a CBI case against Mahua Media Private Limited, wherein three officials of the Punjab National Bank have been charged with irregularities for sanctioning a loan of Rs. 75 crore to the company.