SVO a miniscule for graft monster
Experts Seek Fast-Track Courts On Corruption Cases
Srinagar, Feb 21: Notwithstanding that State Government last week ordered axing of 13 middle-rung officers for their established involvement in corruption, the graft scenario is touching new heights in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The (13) employees against whom premature retirement was ordered were caught demanding and accepting bribe and there was concrete evidence against them,” a member of the High Level Standing Committee, constituted by the government to identify the corrupt officers and deadwood in the administration, told Greater Kashmir.
Official data revealed that for past two years, State Vigilance Organization has caught around 73 middle rung officers from different departments including Revenue, PHE, R&B, red handed in similar cases - demanding and accepting bribe.
The accused included 35 from Jammu and 38 from Kashmir. A Senior SVO official said the cases are at different stages of prosecution including preliminary investigation, production of evidence, hearing of final argument and awaiting sanction for prosecution. However, none of the accused has been convicted till date, an official said.
The organization has registered another 54 cases (non-trap) including misappropriation of public exchequer, misuse of position and disproportionate assets —31 in Kashmir and 23 in Jammu during past two years.
“In Kashmir we were able to get conviction orders in one case of disproportionate assets last year. The accused was awarded three years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 3 lakh,” the official said.
From 2005 to 2009 SVO registered 328 cases including 75 non-trap and 39 trap cases from Jammu and another 86 and 128 non-trap and trap cases in Kashmir. However during the period the conviction rate was zero percent in trap cases.
A former anti-corruption judge who retired recently said conviction in any corruption case is a matter of records. “If there are lacunae in any case the law will take its own course,” he said.
Citing an example, he said during his tenure an official was convicted in a case of corruption. “The whole case matured in just three months despite the complainant turning hostile. The fate of the case also depends on prosecution,” he said.
Another official said the anti-corruption Court also handles the graft cases (trap and non-trap) being investigated by Crime Branch, JK Police, Central Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.
“There lies the problem. The number of cases which comes to the court is so large that the whole process takes huge time. Setting up of some fast track anti-corruption courts can not only help disposing off the cases but a clear message will go out to the corrupt people,” the official said.
A quasi-official body, State Finance Commission has observed in its report submitted to the government that corruption in the state has become “all pervasive and omnipresent” with conventional laws hardly proving effective.
“Corruption is so all pervasive, omnipresent and ubiquitous in J&K that very few nooks in corridors of administration will willingly countenance discussion on it,” the Commission has warned in chapter VIII (volume II) of its voluminous report.
The state Crime Branch which also deals with the cases of corruption has registered around 110 cases including misappropriation of funds, cheating, fake appointments, and frauds in revenue records and so on since 2010 in both Kashmir and Jammu.
Another over 100 such cases have been transferred to it during the period. In all the cases the investigation is either going on, or it has been closed as challaned.
IGP Crime, Raj Aijaz Ali said the organization is at present investigating around 450 cases including forgery.
“We have been able to achieve conviction in about 90 percent of cases charge sheeted by us in different courts including anti corruption court,” the IGP said.
In State’s anti-corruption watch-dog, State Accountability Commission, more than 40 cases, 15 cases from Kashmir and 25 from Jammu are pending prosecution.
“Some of them are high profile wherein there are graft allegations against some ministers and bureaucrats. Besides, there are some cases in which the High Court has passed interim orders,” a source said.
The Commission is mulling to re-open all the cases.
The SFC has termed certain public offices as “citadels of corruption and festering sores.”
It has noticed that laws to deal with “rampant graft and blatant embezzlement of public money” are falling short of the need and the existing apparatus to deal with corruption has not touched the “subjects beyond the fringes.”
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 22 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
- Omar jumps on NCTC bandwagon
- CM speaks on 'ministerial status' issue
- SAC initiates probe against Peerzada
- Government, opposition gear up for budget session
- Legislative Assembly receives 23 private bills, disallows 3
- Eco-conservation funds swindled
- PDD officials pay just 30% power tariff
- SVO a miniscule for graft monster
- Governor launches 11 HDFC branches
- Militant killed, soldier injured in Sopore encounter
- Cabinet meets, discusses budget 2012-13
D A RASHID
Srinagar, Feb 21: The State Government today filed an affidavit in the High Court stating, if required, it will invoke detention order against Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani under Public More
- Srinagar City
Khawaja Bazar shopkeepers say no to money, demand shops in vicinity; dislocated people complain of delay in compensation payments
Srinagar, Feb 21: Shopkeepers of Khawaja Bazar whose establishments are coming under proposed road widening have demanded that they be allotted shops in the adjacent area while those whose houses are also More
Jammu, Feb 21: Strongly condemning the stepped up attacks by ‘unidentified’ gunmen on civilians, People's Democratic Party (PDP) today said the phenomenon seemed to be a permanent accomplice of the National More
- South Asia
NISAR AHMED THOKAR
Islamabad, Feb 21: The Prime Minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK), Chaudhary Majeed has said that the United Kingdom can play a mediatory to settle the long-pending dispute of Kashmir to ensure More