The anti-corruption drive may have gathered steam across the country, but the data acquired from the Anti- Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) Mumbai division contradicts such claims.
According to figures obtained by an activist under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the conviction rate in corruption cases has drastically come down in the last decade.
In 2009, the ACB Special Court convicted only 38 officials accused in corruption cases, while 123 were acquitted. Further, in 2010 the number of convicts decresed to 28 against 160 acquittals. “Most of the corruption cases registered by the ACB, Mumbai division were after the ACB had laid a trap to arrest the accused. However, the conviction rate is on a decline while acquittals have increased, which means that even after arresting the accused, the ACB is not able to prove them guilty,” said RTI activist Jeet Ghadge.
From 2001-10, 327 people were convicted, 663 were acquitted while 181 cases are still pending.
Moreover, the ACB, Mumbai, filed appeal against only 33 of the total 663 acquittals in the Bombay high court. The corruption cases registered by ACB, Mumbai are first fought in ACB, Mumbai Special Court, then convicts or files an appeal in the high court depending on the special court’s verdict.
“The court’s verdict depends on several factors such as charge-sheet, argument put forth by public prosecutor and magistrate. Therefore, it won’t be appropriate to comment. However, the number of appeals filed by the ACB, Mumbai, in the Bombay high court is definitely shocking as they should be definitely more than what it is now,” said Milind Kotak, founder member, Forum for Effective Accountability and Transparency.