With the judiciary of Maharashtra deciding to expedite the trials of cases registered by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Bombay High Court recently empowered more judges to conduct trials of such offenses.
This move will definitely see the conviction of many corrupt officials who earlier used to get away with long duration of trials and where the witnesses either turn hostile or get bribed to goof-up the statements.
The Officers of Anti Corruption Bureau hope that with this, the dismal conviction rates in the state will see an improvement.
According to the Anti Corruption Bureau records, nearly 2,861 corruption cases are pending across Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nanded.
While speaking to some media personnel, Director General of Police (ACB) Praveen Dixit said that earlier, only Special Judges were allowed to conduct trials in Anti Corruption Bureau cases. However, now judges at the District Sessions Courts have also been empowered to do so.
While quoting an example, Praveen Dixit claimed that earlier four Special Judges were allowed to conduct trials in ACB cases in Mumbai. However, with the new directive, the number of Judges hearing the cases will increase to 12 or 13.
With the new directive, around 12 to 13 Additional Sessions Judges will be allotted for the cause. This will be immensely help in conducting speedy trials claimed the ACB Chief.
On the other hand, the officers of Anti Corruption Bureau claimed that this will help in clearing all pending cases. With a massive increase in the number of corruption cases, this move is said to be the ‘need of the hour’ to improve the pace of the trials.
The number of corruption cases lodged with the agency has more than doubled this year compared to previous years. Delay in conducting trials is one of the reasons for low conviction rates.
Sources have added that since the disposal time is stretched, the complainant’s interest in the case too deteriorates. To add to that, witnesses either goof up during deposition or become untraceable and vital time is lost, leading to acquittals.
According to some of the Anti Corruption Bureau Officials, in most of the times, influential Government Servants manage to win over the witnesses through sympathy, pressure or bribery. The transfer or retirement of the officers who investigate the case too affects the case.