With preserving evidence to present stronger cases in court on its mind, the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has started digitisation of case records.
According to the ACB officials, the process is necessary as hearing in most corruption cases go on for years, often leading to details recorded on sheets of paper getting damaged. In some cases, the officers leading the probe get transferred, making it difficult to find the documents. Also, the witnesses tend to forget the details of their statements given a few years ago, leading to acquittal of corrupt officials.
Each of these factors has ensured the ACB’s conviction rate remains dismal. For instance, of the 31 cases decided by the special ACB courts in Mumbai in 2014, 9 were convicted, while 22 were acquitted. In 2013, of the total 119 cases decided, 100 were acquitted and only 19 were convicted.
CASES ON THE RISE
To address the problem, the ACB has started video-graphing the trap. The video and voice recordings are sent to the forensic lab in Kalina, along with the finger prints on the currency and other evidence for verification. Officials have also started creating soft copies of case diaries, statements of witnesses and panchas and stored it on the computer.
Since October 2013, when director general of police (ACB) Praveen Dixit took over as the ACB chief, more than 1,500 cases have been stored in digital form, so they can stand the test of courts and be protected from any possible damage. “We keep a digital copy of the case diary, charge sheet and other documents pertaining to the case. We provide a digital copy of the charge sheet in courts too,” said Dixit.
Some major cases of ACB which are being digitalised:
April 16, 2014: Officials of the ACB arrested Vasudev Burkule, superintendent at the Arthur Road jail, along with deputy jail superintendent Pradeep Pathrikar, for allegedly accepting a bribe from a police sub-inspector, for helping him secure good marks in the Maharashtra Prison Manual exam held on March 25
May 8, 2014: Ajit Singh Theti, principal, Khalsa College, and his personal assistant Nikita Vaid were arrested for accepting Rs 25,000 from Vasant Utikar, a sales tax inspector with the recovery section at Vikrikar Bhavan, Mazgaon, who was seeking admission for his daughter