Selective approach by government departments in graft cases irks CVC

The Central Vigilance Commission has slammed selective approach of some government departments for their failure to follow its advice against officials accused of corruption.

New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission has slammed selective approach of some government departments for their failure to follow its advice against officials accused of corruption.

The CVC has found 20 cases in Railways Ministry, State Bank of India (SBI) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA), among others where officials were not punished or let off with minor penalties, according to its annual report 2014.

The Commission has observed that in the last year there were deviations from its advice.

"Instances of some organisations letting off delinquent officials without punishment or with lighter penalties convey wrong signals to the entire organisational set-up that wrong doers can go scot-free and emboldens other officers also to resort to abuse of their position or powers," it said.

Further, there have been instances where the advices tendered by the Commission have been diluted considerably without approaching the Commission for reconsideration of its advice, said the annual report, which was tabled in Parliament recently.

Of the total cases of non-compliance and selective approach, a highest of four each involved Railways Ministry and SBI, three in DDA, two each in North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Besides, one case each involved the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Indian Rare Earths Ltd and National Highways Authority of India.

Citing a case of Railways, it said there were irregularities in finalisation of tenders for supply of bedrolls in trains.

The CVC had initially advised initiation of minor penalty proceedings against the then Assistant Divisional Railway Manager, Ministry of Railways. On a reconsideration proposal from the Ministry, the Commission reiterated its advice of initiation of minor penalty proceedings on the then ADRM "in disagreement with the recommendation of the Railway Board", the report said.

The former ADRM was the tender accepting authority, who accepted tenders of ineligible bidders on the recommendations of the tender committee. The ineligible bidders were finally awarded contracts. "Recommendations in favour of tenderers, who did not fulfil eligibility criteria is serious," it said.

However, the disciplinary authority in the Railways Ministry exonerated the officer, it said.

In another case related to SBI, it said a case of fraud in gold loan scheme at bank's Hyderabad main branch was found.

The value of 250 kg of gold lent to the firm against three bank guarantees of Punjab National Bank (PNB) could not be recovered as the underlying guarantees were found to be fake.

It was alleged that the branch head, in the rank of AGM, did not cross check the authenticity of the letter purportedly issued by PNB indicating in principle sanction of Rs 60 crore.

The Commission had advised major penalty against the officer. However, the disciplinary authority on revisiting the issue decided to impose minor penalty in disagreement with the CVC's advice, it said.

Any failure on the part of the organisations concerned to seek the Commission's advice in vigilance related matters or their unwillingness to accept its advice against some officers are viewed as examples of a "selective approach" by the organisation in order to favour or disfavour certain officers, which not only affects the credibility of the vigilance administration but also weakens organisation's objectivity, the report said.

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