VACB to get more powers: Kodiyeri

The State government is considering legislation to grant more powers to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to make the agency more efficient and help it complete investigations in a time-bound manner, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the Special Investigation Unit-II of the bureau at Poojappura, the Minister said it needed more powers for investigations, especially for seizure of files from various departments, some of which delayed handing them over to scuttle investigations in corruption cases.

The Minister said the delay in completing investigations helped many escape the law. Small cases were getting undue attention and society was of the view that the cases should be completed in a time-bound manner.

He said Vigilance cases needed detailed investigations and were time-consuming. Hence, 30 posts of sub-inspectors in the VACB would be converted to that of circle inspectors, more infrastructure created and a new Vigilance court set up in Kottayam. He said the courts had ordered conviction in 80 per cent of the corruption cases filed by the VACB. The number of cases was going up, which could be reversed only by creating awareness among the public.

He said many in various spheres of life had been amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. He recalled reports that votes were bought in the Rajya Sabha elections. Compared to other States, Kerala was less likely to follow such trends, which should be curbed at the beginning itself. The VACB's interventions were required for that.

VACB Director K.P. Somarajan said the number of corruption cases in the State had gone up during the past 10 years.

The Special Investigation Unit-II would take care of State-wide cases and would be headed by a Superintendent of Police. The unit, with 70-odd personnel, was set up for speedy completion of investigations.

V. Sivankutty, MLA, presided.

K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary in- charge, Home and Vigilance, K. Maheswaran Nair, councillor, Suresh Babu, Superintendent of Police, VACB, spoke.

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