Mumbai, 7th July 2022: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has to wait even after sending reminders in 256 pending cases to get approval for filing chargesheets against those arrested in bribery cases. Delays in pre-prosecution clearance have paved the way for the concerned bribe-takers to return to service.
A charge sheet has to be filed against the bribe-taker within 90 days after their arrest for taking the bribe. The filing of a chargesheet requires the approval of the government or the competent authority (i.e., the head of the department in which the bribe-taker concerned works). Chargesheets cannot be filed by the ACB without such approval.
On the one hand, although the conviction rate of bribe-takers is low, the investigation is also affected if the concerned investigating officer changes due to a delay in filing the chargesheet. Therefore, pre-trial approval is required in time, said an official from the ACB.
There are 31 and 39 cases of bribery in the revenue and police departments respectively. In 16 cases of the revenue department, approval of the government and in 23 cases, approval of the concerned department head is awaited. The competent authority in the police department has not sanctioned 30 cases. The government’s Home Department has pending approval in only one case. In the rest of the cases, neither the commissioner nor the superintendent has given permission at their level, the available data shows.
A government official arrested for bribery is immediately suspended. But the number of government employees who have not been suspended is 206. The number of bribe-takers who have not been convicted is 25.
According to the statistics, 76 cases with 90 days to complete and 180 cases with 90 days to complete have not received pre-trial approval from the government and the concerned competent authority. The way out for a corrupt official is easy. Failure to get pre-trial approval in time makes it easier for the concerned bribe-taker to return to service. The employee concerned is re-hired depending on the outcome of the case.