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21% decline in cases, preliminary enquiries registered by CBI

The CBI conviction rate increased from 68% to 69.19% in 2019 compared to the previous year.   | Photo Credit: PTI

There was a 21% decline in the registration of cases and preliminary enquiries (PEs) by the CBI in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) annual report.

The agency registered 899 cases and PEs in 2018, while the figure was 710 last year. The cases of alleged bribe demand also declined by almost 26%, from 156 in 2018 to 116 in 2019.

In 2018, 898 investigations were pending for more than one year, while in 2019 the probe was pending for over a year in 744 cases. The number of investigations pending at the end of the year stood at 1,541 in 2018 while it was 1,239 last year.

The conviction rate increased from 68% to 69.19% in 2019 compared to the previous year.

Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the cases declined from 460 involving 867 public servants in 2018 to 396, involving 607 public servants, last year.

“The CBI is normally required to complete investigation of a registered case within one year. Completion of investigation would imply filing of chargesheets in courts wherever warranted, after receipt of sanction from the competent authority. The Commission has observed that there have been some delays in completing investigations in certain cases,” said the report.

Listing the reasons, the CVC said there was work overload, inadequate manpower, delays in obtaining responses to Letters Rogatory sent to foreign jurisdictions for gathering information, verification of documents in disproportionate assets cases and in getting reports from forensic laboratories and other experts.

There were also delays in receipt of prosecution sanction from competent authorities and supply of departmental records; scrutiny of voluminous records took time, specially in economic offences and bank fraud cases; and locating and examining witnesses living in distant places was also a time-consuming exercise.

In its last year’s annual report, the CVC had noted that with effect from July 26, 2018, the Prevention of Corruption Act was amended with the introduction of Section 17-A.

It lays down that “no police officer shall conduct any enquiry or inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties, without the previous approval of the competent authority”.

Under Section 8(1) (d) of the CVC Act, the Commission has the power to inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint against any official under its jurisdiction wherein an offence under the PC Act is alleged to have been committed.

“However, there is no exemption from the operation of Section 17-A of PC Act [of previous approval] in respect of cases referred by the Commission under Section 8 of CVC Act leading to the decision/order of the Commission being subjected to further consideration by the competent authority under Section 17-A of PC Act. This, apart from leading to an anomalous situation of Commission’s orders being reviewed by a lower authority, also leads to delays,” the 2018 report said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 3:00:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/21-decline-in-cases-preliminary-enquiries-registered-by-cbi/article32947979.ece

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