In a bid to curb red tape, the Central Vigilance Commission has issued a directive that government departments will have to complete probes into citizens’ complaints and submit the reports within three months.
If the department concerned doesn’t submit the report within time frame, despite reminders, then the commission itself might step in and conduct an investigation.
Central Vigilance Commission director Vineet Mathur said the order would be a deterrent to the deliberate delay caused in investigation.
“In case of delay in submitting the report, one of the options would be to take disciplinary action against the official concerned,” Mathur said.
“In cases of a serious nature, either the Central Vigilance Commission itself would investigate or we would even forward them to the Central Bureau of Investigation conduct direct investigations.”
The Central Vigilance Commission often receives complaints against government officers, ranging from corruption charges to dereliction of duty. The commission then directs the complaints to the department concerned to conduct a preliminary investigation.
The order came in response to activist Mohammed Afzal’s queries under the Right to Information Act on the steps taken to curb delays by state departments in filing reports on citizens’ complaints forwarded for investigation by the commission.
“In 2007, a scamster was using stolen money receipt books of the Western Railway and illegally allowing advertisers to display ads leading to a huge revenue loss for the railways. I complained about it to the Central Vigilance Commission because this couldn’t have been done without railway officials conniving with them.”
The railways took more than a year to probe the complaint and submit the report to the commission.
Afzal said, “This order comes as a boon, especially because for long various government departments seem to have taken the CVC for granted. There was no restriction to the time limit that the so-called investigation could take.”
Afzal added that this order could have larger ramifications, in the nature of investigation conducted.
“Sometimes the departments delay the investigation thus ensuring that the complainant loses interest in the case. That way, the department can save the corrupt officials from punishment,” he added.