The Central Vigilance Commission is planning to send independent experts to government departments to sniff out corruption, and the corrupt.
So far only sleuths from agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation have the legal mandate to investigate corruption. But they are overburdened with more cases than they can efficiently handle.
Besides, there is also recognition in the commission that a formal CBI inquiry at the first instance could end up harassing honest officers as well.
The other mechanism within the system is holding a “discreet inquiry”. But the discreet inquiry can only be ordered against an individual, not a set of individuals.
Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha said he wanted to use the independent experts as fact-finding missions.
"If we get information or believe that something wrong is going on in a department, we can ask them to find out. Or if we find there are delays, they could find out how and why the delays are taking place," Sinha told Hindustan Times.
These special teams would get their mandate from the commission that has powers to order direct inquiries, a provision not usually invoked so far.
The team would submit a report to the commission after completing their mission; the report would determine the next course of action. Officials named in the report could face a CBI investigation if the charge is backed by prima facie evidence. Systemic flaws within the department would be brought to the notice of superiors for corrective action.
The commission is holding consultations with the government to notify regulations under the CVC Act for this purpose. "Most people we touch will go to court. The paperwork has to be flawless," a CVC official said.
"We want to be on a sound footing on every count," he added. Officials said they intended to request people with an indisputable integrity record like former CVC, N Vittal, to head the special fact-minding missions.