Majority of FIRs registered by SVO since 2015 still under investigation

Governor’s concern remains unaddressed, involved officials unpunished

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 5: Despite clear instructions from the Governor about expediting disposal of corruption cases, majority of the FIRs registered by the State Vigilance Organization during the past three and half years are still under investigation and nobody knows when these will be taken to the logical conclusion.
Due to this, involved officers and officials have remained unpunished and several among them are even enjoying prime postings in the administration much to the disappointment of those who have unblemished service record.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that Governor N N Vohra has always laid thrust on curbing the menace of corruption with iron hands in order to restore people’s faith in the system and during each and every interaction with the top brass of the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) or with the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) he advised for making vigorous efforts to ensure disposal of the cases in the shortest possible time frame that too without any fear or favour.
However, the data of the State Vigilance Organization has clearly established that Governor’s concern has remained unaddressed. As per the official figures, a total of 136 FIRs have been registered by the premier agency fighting the menace of corruption from January 1, 2015 onwards in Jammu province while as 135 FIRs were lodged in the Kashmir province during this period.
As far as Jammu province is concerned, 43 FIRs were registered in 2015, 31 in 2016, 46 in 2017 and 16 in 2018 (till date). Similarly, in Kashmir province 55 FIRs were registered in 2015, 23 in 2016, 33 in 2017 and 24 in 2018 (till date).
However, the status of majority of these 271 FIRs has been shown as ‘under investigation’ which means charge-sheets have not been produced in the court of the law for trial under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act.
These FIRs have been registered against the Government servants for offences like illegal appointments, misuse of official position, illegal transfer of land, demand and acceptance of bribe, misappropriation of Government funds, irregularities while issuing arms licenses, disproportionate assets, embezzlement, illegal transfers for monetary consideration, issuance of cards under social security schemes to non-deserving persons, purchase of sub-standard material, illegal permission for construction of buildings, giving fraudulent relief to beneficiaries, facilitating encroachment of land for monetary consideration, purchase of items on exorbitant rates and fake and fabricated entries in the service records etc.
Shockingly, FIRs pertaining to demand and acceptance of Rs 2000 bribe, facilitating illegal construction on monetary consideration, bungling in allotment of works and excess charging of toll registered way back in 2015 have not been taken to the logical conclusion because of unknown reasons.
Moreover, investigation in 11 FIRs and proceedings in 32 FIRs in the Anti-Corruption Courts have been stayed by the High Court but no steps have been initiated to either get the interim orders modified or vacated.
“Due to delay in disposal of majority of the corruption cases registered since 2015, the accused officers and officials have remained unpunished and large number of such Government servants are even enjoying prime postings”, sources said, adding  “no doubt all those officers and officials against whom FIRs have been registered by the anti-corruption organization cannot be held  guilty till completion of trial in the court of law but at least their posting on important posts can be avoided by the Government in the light of Supreme Court orders”.
“Allowing such officers and officials to work on important posts discourages those Government servants who have unblemished service record but are not considered for important posts”, sources further said and hoped that Governor will pass necessary instructions to the State Vigilance Organization for making systematic efforts to ensure early disposal of the pending corruption cases.