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Madhya Pradesh’s Lokayukta seeks fresh nod for 245 pending cases’ trial

A retired high court or Supreme Court judge heads Madhya Pradesh’s Lokayukta, which has its own police wing to deal with corruption cases involving public servants. The officials said that prosecution sanction is awaited against 92 class I and class II officers, including an Indian Administrative Service officer, and 199 class III and IV officials.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2018 08:08 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Lokayukta,Madhya Pradesh’s Lokayukta,pending cases
Madhya Pradesh’s Lokayukta has sought fresh sanctions from the state’s new Congress government to prosecute 281 people in 245 cases. (Getty Images/Picture for representation)

Madhya Pradesh’s Lokayukta has sought fresh sanctions from the state’s new Congress government to prosecute 281 people in 245 cases. The anti-corruption ombudsman had earlier failed to get the approvals from the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which was voted out of power after 15 years in November, to put them on trial, officials in the Lokayukta office said.

“With the new government taking over, we are once again writing to all the departments to provide the necessary sanctions,” said Lokayukta director general Anil Kumar.

The officials said they were now hopeful of prosecution sanctions in many cases. “...in some of the cases, the accused were close to the [previous BJP] government and hence no decision was taken on giving the prosecution sanctions,” said a Lokayukta official on condition of anonymity.

BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal insisted his party’s government never tolerated corruption. “...there were never political considerations in withholding prosecution sanctions,’’ he said.

Officials said an assistant commissioner is among the people against whom prosecution sanction has been sought afresh. He had been booked for alleged disproportionate assets in 2013. They said the go-ahead for putting him on trial was not given even as the first letter in this regard was sent in December 2015. Several reminders have since been sent for his prosecution sanction.

In another case, sanction was initially given to prosecute a labour officer, who was booked in a disproportionate assets case in 2012. The sanction was later withdrawn on his request.

A Lokayukta official, who is familiar with this case, said they have moved the high court in this regard. Kumar said they have this year moved the high court against denial of prosecution sanction in five cases. So far, they have appealed against permission denial in 10 cases.

The officials said that prosecution sanction is awaited against 92 class I and class II officers, including an Indian Administrative Service officer, and 199 class III and IV officials. To put on trial class I and II officers, permission is needed from the state cabinet, which is routed through the general administration department. In the case of others, a concerned department’s principal secretary is the final authority to give the go-ahead for prosecution.

A retired high court or Supreme Court judge heads Madhya Pradesh’s Lokayukta, which has its own police wing to deal with corruption cases involving public servants.

Kumar said they have been holding meetings with principal secretaries of various departments to speed up the process of getting prosecution sanctions for the past six months. “We found that in many cases, the sanctions were not being given on minor grounds. In a few cases, the letters of prosecution sanction issued never reached us. Though these interactions, we have been able to get prosecution sanctions in 280 cases,” Kumar said.

Former state advocate general Anand Mohan Mathur said that going by his own experience often prosecution sanctions were withheld because the accused was close to a minister in power.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 08:06 IST