Between January 2019 and November 2022, 6,098 complaints forwarded to respective departments
Geetanjali Minhas | April 7, 2023 | Mumbai
Between 1st January, 2019 and 30th November 2022, the Mumbai Anti- Corruption Bureau received 10,930 complaints, out of which only 276 inquiries were ordered. Out of these inquiries only four FIRs were registered while 71 were closed and 205 are still pending. Also, 6,098 complaints were forwarded to respective departments.
Percentage wise, only 2.5% inquiries were ordered against complaints received by ACB and only 1% of the inquiries ordered were converted into FIRs.
RTI activist Jitendra Ghadge, of The Young Whistleblower’s Foundation, who sought this information the under the Right to Information Act, says that these complaints are mainly from citizens across Mumbai who are facing corruption on a daily basis.
“The fact that 10,930 complaints have been filed proves that there is a serious problem of irregularities and corruption in Mumbai,” he says.
Referring to a Bombay High Court order in PIL No. 3 of 2008 in the case of Anna Kishanrao More Vs PR Menon, in which the court directed the ACB to stop forwarding the complaints and take action on its own, Ghadge says, “There is absolutely no fear among the government servants of ACB because of which the citizens are suffering. It is a clear violation of that order and contempt of court.”
Further, only four convictions were secured whereas in 28 cases the accused have been acquitted. On average 90% of the cases registered by the ACB are trap cases where an accused is caught red-handed accepting bribe.
“Unfortunately, looking at the conviction rate it is clear that all these accused get acquitted in court, which is shocking. This poor performance questions the trap processes conducted by ACB. How can a person caught red-handed get acquitted by the court?” he asks.
"Successive governments have only made promises to end corruption but nobody has delivered. As soon as political parties come to power they only use the ACB to settle their political scores. No political party cares for the citizens at large who are facing corruption on daily basis,” he adds.
Speaking to Governance Now, former Maharashtra DGP Praveen Dixit, who also headed the Anti-Corruption Bureau, said that the complainant must be protected by friends and family till the completion of trial. He underlined the role of judicial officers in penalising the culprits. “Even after traps I am told almost 190 persons who have been trapped in the last one year or so have not even been suspended,” he said.
Ruing the lack to political will to reign in corruption, Anjali Bhardwaj, co- convenor, NCPRI, said, “Unfortunately we have seen all governments are averse to be held accountable. All countries with good governance models have strong transparency and accountability mechanisms … strong ways to protect people who file complaints and grievances.”
Human rights activist Rakesh Raman too observed that in government, complaints are forwarded from one department to another with no relief to the complainant. “No complaints of corruption should go to courts. Victims of corruption should approach administrative channels of offices,” he said.
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