Out of every 10 cases of corruption pursued by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) in 2009, only 1.9 cases resulted in a conviction.
The rest, including public servants caught red-handed by the ACB, were all acquitted. This is in stark contrast to the ACB's performance 10 years ago, when 5.4 out of 10 cases resulted in conviction.
Information obtained under the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005, points to a steep fall in the conviction rates of the cases pursued by the ACB. In a rapid decline from the past standards that it set, the conviction rate of the ACB has fallen from 63 per cent in 2001 to a mere 16.12 per cent in 2010, till April. Even 2009 registered a dismal 19 per cent conviction of ACB's cases.
An RTI query by Opera House resident Jeet Ghadge (28) brought this information to light. Incidentally, it was Ghadge's curiosity that prodded him to file a query. The information the RTI got, Ghadge adds, "helped me clear the misconceptions about the ACB."
Not wishing to be named, a senior ACB official said these rates don't reflect the right picture about its performance.
"First, these trials involve a number of factors-the prosecution, the investigative agency, the witnesses, the judiciary among others. To blame the ACB for the low conviction rate is unfair."
ACB officials said the number of cases where the decision is pronounced also differs every year.
"For example, in 2001 only 18 verdicts were pronounced while the number shot up to 121 in 2009. Hence, the efficiency levels will fluctuate a bit."
Ghadge counters this argument and says, "In 2005, when there were 48 acquittals, the ACB only filed appeals in three of these 48 cases. Why so?"