Institution of DVOs too rendered defunct

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Nov 13: The State Government has handed over the major institution of Departmental Vigilance Officers (DVOs), who were responsible for tackling corruption at the departmental level, to the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) taking it away from the State Vigilance Organisation (SVO).
To strengthen the institution, the Government has decided to minimize number of the DVOs but upgrade their level so that they were able to take on the corrupt officers effectively. Earlier, each Government Department and Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) used to have a DVO taking their number to over 1500. Their number now would be brought down between 250 to 300.
Official sources told the Excelsior that presently the institution of DVOs, whose conference used to be organised twice or at least once a year by the SVO to issue them guidelines on dealing with the corruption departmentally, has been completely lying defunct for past quite sometime now though the DVOs appointed a long back still existed.
As the State Government handed over the institution of DVOs to the SVC after it was established in February this year, the Commission has sought panels from the General Administration Department (GAD) of the senior officers to be appointed as DVOs for different Government Departments and the PSUs.
The SVC had sought the panel of officers along with their Annual Performance Reports (APRs) of three years from the GAD sometime back. However, sources said, the GAD was yet to submit a panel of officers for the DVOs along with their APRs for their appointment by the Commission.
“Due to delay by the GAD in submission of the panel of officers for appointment as DVOs, yet another anti-corruption institution, which was effective in dealing with corruption at department level, has been virtually rendered defunct by the State Government,” sources said pointing out that the Vigilance Organisation used to hand over a number of complaints/cases of corruption and irregularities to the DVOs for investigations.
The SVC had decided that there would be only 250 to 300 DVOs instead of 1500 plus and they would be of higher rank so that they didn’t come under the influence of Heads of Departments (HoDs) and other senior officers of their Departments while investigating the corruption cases.
As per the initial position, every Department and the PSU used to have a DVO, who had to maintain liaison with the SVO to point out cases of corruption and other irregularities in their Departments. The DVOs had been empowered with investigating some of the cases on their own and, if required, report to the SVO for further probe.
Sources noted that the institution of DVOs had proved very useful in detecting various corruption cases, investigating them on their own or informing the Vigilance Organisation about serious issues of corruption, wherever required, for thorough probe. The Vigilance Organisation used to call two or at least one conference of all DVOs across the State in a year to inter-act and guide them on various corruption related issues.
Though the SVC or the SVO were still inter-acting with existing DVOs occasionally, they have outlived the utility following the SVC decision of appointing new DVOs of higher ranks replacing the junior ones and restricting their numbers to make them more effective institution of dealing with the corruption.
According to sources, the Government had decided that it would be the SVC, which would appoint the DVOs and deal with them and not the SVO. As the Government took a lot of time in establishing the SVC and then sending the panel of officers to the Commission along with their APRs for their appointment, the institution of DVOs was lying defunct.
Sources expressed surprise over the GAD’s delay even in submission of panels of the officers and their APRs to the SVC in appointment of the DVOs.
Previously, the junior ranking officials used to act as DVOs and they were unable to investigate or detect the cases pertaining to their seniors. The Commission has decided that there would be selective DVOs but of higher rank so that they were in a position to point our corruption and irregularities in Government Departments and PSUs and investigate them on their own and, if required, refer the matter to the Commission.
“One senior officer would be Incharge of three to four Departments and PSUs,’’ they said.

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