‘State to blame for graft cases pile-up’
A junior engineer from the Backward Region Grant Fund, Zilla Parishad was booked in a corruption case at Bhandara by the Nagpur anti-corruption bureau in January 2014. Despite repeated reminders to his office, the ACB has not received the requisite sanction to prosecute him.
Similarly, a sales tax inspector was booked in a corruption case by the Mumbai anti-corruption bureau in March 2014. But the ACB, which has sought for prosecution orders from the commissioner, has still not received the go ahead.
These are just two of the 318 cases filed since 2012 that have not reached the court because of the reluctance shown by state authorities, said state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) officials. “Despite repeated reminders, we get no response from the authorities concerned to prosecute corrupt officials,” said Praveen Dixit, director general of police, ACB.
According to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the state must give the go ahead. Without prior sanction, the court cannot take cognisance of offences punishable under the Act. This includes disproportionate assets cases or ones where traps are set to catch officials accepting the bribe. “After the case is investigated, the prosecution order is necessary, which is not granted. This leads to cases getting delayed,” said Dixit. Although the law mandates the government give its approval within 90 days, 116 cases have been pending for more than that period. The remaining 202 have been with the government for less than 90 days.
The ACB listed 22 departments where prosecution sanction is pending with the government or the competent authority. This includes 91 cases involving revenue department officials, 88 from the home department, 23 from the town planning/municipal corporation, 21 from the gram vikas (Zilla Parishad/panchayat samiti), along with other departments.
Experts said in such cases where prosecution is not granted, the ACB should approach the court to take cognisance. “The ACB should write to the court requesting it to direct the competent authority to grant the sanctioning order rather than sitting on the cases,” said senior advocate Amin Solkar.