Corruption cases await disposal for years

Corruption cases await disposal for years

Officers facing charges enjoy plum postings

Srinagar, May 14: The state anti graft agencies dealing with corruption cases of government officials, are awaiting disposal of hundreds of complaints that are pending with various departments of the Jammu and Kashmir Government.
Sources said that most of the government departments were reluctant in sharing case histories of the accused. “ Over the years hundreds of cases have been sent to different government departments for action and on the basis of evidence collected, prima facie charges have been established against identified officials, however so far action has been taken only in few cases and action against the remaining hundreds were pending,” sources in the State Vigilance organization said.
Sources said that it is astonishing that number of officers facing corruption charges was awarded plum postings. “Posting officials against whom investigations are going on is demeaning government’s own initiatives against the menace of corruption,” said sources.
The government had issued a circular, where the chief vigilance officers and departmental vigilance officers of all departments were directed to ensure completion of the enquiries pending with them “expeditiously”.
“They shall develop strong internal vigilance mechanism in their respective departments, as also to work in tandem with State Vigilance Commission (SVC) to eradicate the menace of corruption at all levels,” the circular reads.
An official of the SVC said that corruption cases remain pending for years in the state. “Departmental heads seem less interested in punishing the corrupt officials,” the official said.
Sources said the complaints of corruption, nepotism and malpractices against officers and officials of government departments have increased, and if this pace is not reversed the situation will assume dangerous proportion.
Sources said that the officers of departments were directed by the government to take departmental action on the enquiry reports, wherever necessary, and not to wait for the outcome of enquiry/investigation being conducted on the same charges by Vigilance Organization or SVC. However sources said that nothing has been done in this regard.
One of the top officials of the Vigilance commission said that there is a deluge of complaints being received by the State Vigilance Organization and vigilance commission from last few years. “In a number of complaints in 2015- to 2017, allegations are mainly about violation of codal formalities in the award of contracts in works, purchases, appointments, promotions and transfer, denial of services by the government departments etc,” he said.
The official said that often these complaints are lacking in specifics and with the result the department doesn’t attract provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The people believe that the officials in departments and government-owned corporations have not shown accountability as there are no checks and inspections.
The duties of departmental vigilance officers and district vigilance officers are explicitly defined in Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Rules, 2013. Their role is to check corruption in departments, even on the basis of media reports.
It is to mention here that the government had earlier decided to order premature retirement of ‘corrupt and incapable’ officials, who have not been able to deliver in their respective departments.
The government had also constituted a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary and the committee was to be the final authority to take action against the corrupt officials.
Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2015 affirmed his commitment to bring transparency and accountability in the state administration when he removed tainted officials and non-performing bureaucrats from the plum postings.
The chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had also admitted that corruption was a major challenge in the state with various anti-graft agencies having received thousands of complaints in this regard. “Corruption is a major challenge for the government and its adverse effects on the society cannot be underestimated,” CM had said.
Meanwhile one of the senior ministers in the government said that the State government has directed authorities in all the departments to act promptly on the graft enquiries conducted by them or the State Vigilance Organization (SVC) against officials. “The departmental vigilance officers and district vigilance officers have been directed to adopt a multidimensional approach for checking corruption allegations against government officials,” the minister said wished not to be named.
The minister also claimed that the officers of departments were also directed to take departmental action on the enquiry reports, wherever necessary, and not to wait for the outcome of enquiry/investigation being conducted on the same charges by Vigilance Organization or State vigilance commission. (KNS)