In 2003, Arvind Zhade, a Class II officer of the rural development department, was arrested by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in Yavatmal district, accepting a bribe of Rs 100. In March 2014, Zhade was convicted and sentenced to simple imprisonment for a year. The conviction notwithstanding, Zhade continues to hold his post. Within two days of the conviction, Zhade filed an appeal in the Nagpur bench of the Mumbai high court.
In 2005, Kailash Jadhav of the revenue department was arrested by the ACB for accepting a bribe of Rs 400, and subsequently convicted. In December 2013, he was sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment. After he filed an appeal in court within a few days of being sentenced, he was reinstated.
Zhade and Jadhav are just two of the 34 government employees who have been convicted by special courts in ACB cases, but most of them continue to work in their respective departments, despite convictions. The others have been suspended, but not dismissed.
Sources in the ACB said a majority of appeals filed by the convicted accused in higher courts resulted in reinstatement. Some of these cases go as far back as 1994, while the latest case is from 2010.
According to sources, two of the 34 convicted government officials are Class II officials, 24 are from the Class III, one is from Class IV, while four are below officer rank. Fifteen of the 34 convicted officials are from the revenue department and land record and registration departments.
Director general of police (ACB) Praveen Dixit told HT that even if the convicted accused file appeals in the higher courts, the concerned courts usually stay only the sentences, and not the convictions, and the concerned government departments need to initiate dismissal procedure, as per the provisions of the law. “We have written to the state government, pointing out that employees convicted in graft cases continue to either serve or are merely suspended,” he said.
When the higher courts reverse the trial court’s judgment, a separate procedure is in place to reinstate the absolved individual.