Fewer complaints of corruption in Mumbai this year
In a blow to the fight against corruption, trap cases registered by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the state dipped to 205 till April 14 this year compared to 312 in the corresponding period in 2016 — a 34 per cent fall.mumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2017 09:24 IST
In a blow to the fight against corruption, trap cases registered by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the state dipped to 205 till April 14 this year compared to 312 in the corresponding period in 2016 — a 34 per cent fall.
ACB officials have attributed the slump to fewer complainants; ingenious ways employed by government employees to seek bribes; and agency’s clampdown.
Mumbai witnessed only eight trap cases this year against 23 in 2016.These cases refer to traps laid by ACB officials to catch government officials accepting bribes.
In 2014 and 2015, the ACB recorded 1,245 and 1,234 corruption cases in 2014 and 2015. At the time, Praveen Dixit, former Director General of Police, Maharashtra, was heading the agency.
After his exit as the ACB chief, the number fell to 985 cases in 2016.
“One reason for the slump in trap cases could be elections. But if complainants come forward, we take a prompt action. The only reason the cases have come down is because complainants have not approached us,” said an ACB.
However, another senior ACB official told HT, “The only reason for number of trap cases coming down is that the bribe seeking government servants have become shrewd and alert. They are the ones who are more aware now.”
“In the past few years, the ACB was cracking down heavily against corrupt government. This has made them more alert and cautious,” added the official.
Mumbai ACB plugs loopholes to improve conviction rate
The Mumbai range of the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has recorded a remarkable improvement in its conviction rate.
Four cases have ended in conviction in as many months of this year while the number stood at three in the entire 2016.
What prompted this turnaround? An ACB official said after studying past trap cases, they came across a technical reason that was exploited by the accused to seek acquittal. “Last year, the court had acquitted the accused based on a technical reason. We ensured that our officials studied all acquittal cases. We worked on that technicality in the law to make trap cases watertight,” said the official.
The Mumbai range registered a dismal performance with its conviction rate at 7% and 6% in 2015 and 2016.
In 2015, as many as 69 cases completed trials but only five cases resulted in conviction.
The conviction rate was almost similar in 2016. As many as 51 cases completed trials and only three cases ended in conviction. However, the silver lining this year is that about 18 cases completed trials and four cases have resulted in conviction.
Another ACB official said stricter supervision helped improve the conviction rate.
“Few years ago, trap cases where not being registered meticulously, paving the way for acquittals. Learning form our mistakes, we started trying cases which were fresh and not pending for several years. In these fresh cases, we make sure that the officer who has caught corrupt government servants is still serving in the ACB. This worked in our favour. In addition, senior officials have diligently supervised the cases.”