Investigations in as many as 217 bribery cases are pending before the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as the 29 concerned government departments are yet to give sanction for prosecution. Of these, 99 cases are pending beyond the stipulated 90 days period.
Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the state must give the go ahead for prosecuting the accused government servants in court. Without prior sanction, the court cannot take cognisance of these cases. The sanctioning authorities must study the evidence and write to ACB regarding clarifications or doubts.Only when the authorities are convinced, do they give sanctions.
“We are trying our best to ensure that we get the sanctions for these cases as soon as possible. We have sent reminders to the concerned departments. If the sanctions are delayed by more than 90 days, then filing the charge sheet against the accused will also be delayed. If we go ahead and file the charge sheet without the sanction, then the court will discharge it. We have no option but to wait,” said official from Maharashtra ACB, requesting anonymity.
A majority of the 99 pending cases are from the home department, gram vikas/zilla vikas/panchayat samitis and the education department. All of them will now be put before state chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya.
The departments with whom the cases are pending will have to explain to Kshatriya why they have not given their sanction and what is causing the delay.
“I will be reviewing these cases. Action will be taken,” Kshatriya told HT.
Praveen Dixit, former Maharashtra director general of police, who had cracked down on corruption during his stint as director general of the Maharashtra ACB, said the law needs to be amended. “Reforms are required. The law needs to be amended. There is no need to obtain sanction from the government in cases where a government servant is caught red-handed. Taking bribes is not part of his duty. The law is atrocious. I urge the members of parliament to ensure stern action against corruption,” he said.