*Govt gives vague reply on appointment of Director Vigilance
JAMMU, Feb 1: Over 110 Government officials were among 150 persons charge-sheeted by the State Vigilance Organization, premier investigating agency of Jammu and Kashmir, during the past two years. However, all these 49 cases are pending in different courts despite lapse of more than one year as a result of which majority of the accused have remained unpunished.
This can be gauged from the details furnished to CPI (M) MLA Mohd Yousuf Tarigami by the Minister Incharge General Administration Department, in the Legislative Assembly today.
Asked about the officers and officials charge-sheeted by the State Vigilance Organization during the past two years, the Government informed the House that premier investigating agency of the State has charge-sheeted over 110 Government officials and 40 beneficiaries of their illegal acts during the period between January 1, 2015 and December 20, 2016. All these persons were booked under Prevention of Corruption Act and 49 FIRs were lodged in this regard several years back.
The charge-sheeted officers and officials are of the rank of Director, Assistant Directors, Chief Accounts Officers, Executive Engineers, Assistant Executive Engineers, Draftsman and Deputy Director etc. Astonishingly, none of the accused officials has been punished so far as all these 49 cases are at evidence and charge stage in the courts. In certain cases, the proceedings of the lower courts have been stayed by the High Court.
It is a matter of serious concern that earlier there was dilly-dallying approach in completion of investigation after registration of cases and now the courts are taking time to take these cases to the logical conclusion. Interestingly, several accused Government servants have attained superannuation during the course of investigation by the SVO and pendency of cases in the courts.
Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, the then Director/Chief Engineer, Stores Procurement Department along with several other officials was booked by the SVO in 2010 and challan was presented in August 2015 but the proceedings in this case were stayed by the High Court and what happened thereafter has not been reflected in the official data provided to the CPI(M) MLA in the House.
All the three Assistant Directors of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department-Saif-ud-Din Giri, Krishan Kumar and Zaffarullah Bhat, who were booked along with one Chief Accounts Officer and four contractors attained superannuation during the course of investigation and still the case is at charge-stage in the court.
Girdhari Lal, the then Executive Engineer Irrigation Division Rajouri (presently XEn Irrigation Division Doda) along with Sheraz Ahmad Khan, the then Store Officer Irrigation Division Rajouri (presently AEE Irrigation Division Poonch) and Khalil Ahmad Mir, the then Draftsman Irrigation Division Rajouri (presently Draftsman Irrigation Division Poonch) were booked in 2012 and the challan was presented in November 2015 but till date the case is still at charge stage in the court.
Similarly, Anil John, the then Deputy Director Tourism Kashmir, Subash Chander, the then CAO Home Department and Rajinder Kaul, the then AAO Home Department were booked by the Vigilance Organization in 2000 and challan was presented in March 2015 but the case is still at evidence stage in the court.
Fourteen bank employees, who were booked by the Vigilance in 2010 and challan against whom was presented in the court in June 2015, have remained unpunished till date as the case is still at charge stage. Likewise, several officials of Khadi Village Industries Board namely Muzaffar Abdul Nasir, Sarbuland Baba, Deedar Singh, Ghulam Mohammad, Mohammad Yousuf Baba and Abdul Hamid Rather, who were booked by the SVO in 2001 and against whom challan was presented in April 2015, have remained unpunished as the case is still at charge stage.
There are numerous such instances which clearly establish that earlier SVO took time in completion of investigation and filing of challan and now the courts have failed to ensure disposal of cases in time bound manner.
When asked about the reasons for not appointing Director of State Vigilance Organization since 2015, the Government gave vague reply by mentioning ‘appointment of new Director is under active co sideration of the Government’. The Government, however, failed to specify time-frame for appointment and simply said, “charge of the post of Director Vigilance is being held by Inspector General Vigilance”.
About the reasons of inordinate delay in investigating the cases pertaining to grabbing of about 20 lakh kanals of State land under the garb of Roshni Act, the Government said, “the investigation of the cases under the Roshni Act is being done as per the rules and provisions of the law and on the basis of legal evidence relevant to each case”.
“The investigation of cases under Roshni involves obtaining/seizure of revenue records of the relevant period, recording of statement of concerned revenue officers under Section 161 CrPC, joint spot visits with Revenue Department and sometimes with Forest Department officers for demarcation of lands, detecting the procedural lapses and seeking of expert opinion etc as such is bound to take time”, the Government said.