Accused manage to get set free
Cases pending over past 20 years, delay benefits the accused
Where does lie fault in system?
Nagpur: It is said that the hands of law are so long that no one an escape, yet the accused of corruption charges find so many ways to escape the hands of law. The ACB sleuths work at the cost of their lives, and the result is that all their efforts turn into fiasco. The graph of conviction under ACB cases in Nagpur district is downward though the ACB makes tall claims of registering the cases. When the ACB cases reach the doors of judiciary, they are dismissed for want of sufficient evidence. As on this date, only 18% conviction has been made in ACB cases while in 82% cases the accused have been acquitted. Such a situation needs deep brooding as to where lies fault in the system.
It is usually believed that with government departments do not move forward or faster without getting money. It is not that there are no honest officials, but the officials need pleasing (greasing of palms) for expediting disposal of works or stopping them from not to point out any lacuna in the work to be done smoothly. ACB has taken a bid to root out corruption from society and urged the citizens to inform ACB on toll free helpline number 1064 in case of any intended act of corruption. How much success such a drive by ACB has achieved cannot be exactly said, but the citizens are using this number (1064).
The ACB had made records in year 2014 and 2015 by trapping many in ACB net, surpassing its previous records. While only 73 accused were trapped in ACB net in year 2013, the figure touched 154 cases in 2014 and 142 cases in 2015. Such scoring may be satisfying to ACB that it is working hard, but this scoring has not been able to stand in court.
1 case disposed of in 2009, 2 cases disposed of in 2011
In Nagpur division, 42 cases were registered in year 2009 and 73 cases were registered in 2011 against the corrupt persons under sections 7 and 13. Surprisingly, only one case in 2009 and 2 cases in 2011 were disposed of by courts. In the case of 2009, PSI Madhav Shinde was arrested, but got acquitted on May 20, 2015. In one of the two cases of 2011, APSI Sumitkumar Dwivedi (MIDC police station) was arrested and got acquitted on January 13, 2015 while in another case of 2011, PSI Rang Nath Mogal was arrested and he was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment.
2 years of imprisonment after trial for 21 years
ACB had arrested PSI Khushab Parlewar (Butibori police station) in year 1994 for taking bribe. When his cases was disposed of on October 6, 2015, the special court awarded him 2 years of imprisonment. PSI Khushab is now in his old age and one cannot know as to what will happen till he gets Supreme Court decision. With such an exorbitant delay in disposal of cases by courts, the ACB cases pending since year 2000 have not yet been disposed of.
ACB helpless before the system
ACB seems to be helpless before the system. As per rules, the accused of corruption caught by ACB should not get any executive responsibility until he is acquitted of the charges, and should not be posted, particularly when his nature of work involved monetary transactions and public relations. But unfortunately, such accused are still deputed in public duties and they are allowed to work in traffic department, police stations, revenue department, MSRTC, RTO and so on. Surprisingly, those caught in corruption charges are posted in executive duties too.
There is also rule of suspending the accused of corruption charges for a year, but they are assigned duties in 3-6 months. They are given 50% salary for 3 months, 75% thereafter, and after joining the duties they are given 100% salary.
Corruption-accused gets justice in this way
The fate of accused facing corruption charges depends on the complainant or witnesses. When the cases runs for a long time, 10-20 years, in many cases witness or complainant dies during such a long period. Such a situation is termed as ‘delay practice’ and thus the accused gets acquitted.
Delay practice is a big hurdle
As per rule, an accused of corruption must not be given any posting for a year, and any posting, if necessary, may be given in the name of side-posting but after one year only. Until acquitted of the charges, the accused is not supposed to receive any pension, gratuity and other benefits.
According to Rajiv Jain, SP (ACB), Nagpur, the system is at fault. He says, “We table our opinion before the committee head by Divisional Commissioner, but despite all our say, the accused facing corruption charges are appointed on executive responsibility. In respect of police personnel, the decisions are taken by Police Commissioner and Superintendent of Police.
He claimed that the ACB has been doing its duties perfectly but ‘delay practice’ is growing more and more, and it has become a great hurdle. According to him there is guideline that High Court should take 5 cases of corruption in a month on its board. The punishment under sections 7 and 13 has been enhanced as 5 to 7 years. As the cases are lengthened for years together, the accused gets benefit. Even today, 15 to 20 year old cases are pending in special courts. However, ACB will keep doing its duty, he added.