By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: The anti-graft agencies acting tough against the corrupt government employees and even reopening the old cases have created ripples among the official circles across Jammu and Kashmir.
The Anti Corruption Bureau is registering cases on day to day basis and the challans are being filed regularly. The anti-graft agency getting more teeth is keeping the government employees on toes.
An observer while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “During the past two years many things have changed in Jammu and Kashmir. Officials no longer keep the files pending. Nor do they demand any favours directly as they fear that may put them in trouble.”
He said, “Prior to August 5, 2019, the anti-graft agencies were just paper tigers. These agencies, despite having evidence and proof, couldn’t act due to political pressure being exerted on them.”
In July 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had observed that delay caused by investigating agencies in filing charge sheets against government servants in corruption cases was hampering the measures to curb the corrupt practices in the Union Territory.
The High Court had stated that charge sheets had not been filed in a large number of cases, some of which were more than 22 years old, while the outer limit to file the charge sheet in a corruption case is 90 days if the accused has been arrested.
The then Chief Justice Gita Mittal had asked the investigating agencies to explain as to why they were “sleeping over the investigation of cases with serious allegations.”
In Jammu alone, no charge sheets were filed in as many as 226 cases registered from 1998 to 2018. In 13 of these cases, the FIRs had been filed more than two decades ago. Similar cases were pending in other districts as well, some of which for over a decade.
The High Court had stated that the accused get benefited due to non-filing of charge sheets, as they continue to remain in service for decades, get bail by default and claim post-retirement benefits.
After the High Court put the top officials on notice the anti-graft agencies across J&K intensified their crusade against corruption. “The results are evident as the complaints being received by the ACB are investigated thoroughly and the charge sheets in the pending cases are filed promptly,” said an observer.
He said, “Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has given a free hand to anti-graft agencies to act against anyone who is found involved in corrupt practices. One thing is clear that no one is above the law.”