CVC reviews graft cases handled by CBI

Amid reports of the CBI planning to close the six-year-old disproportionate assets case against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) on Tuesday conducted a review of corruption cases handled by the agency.

The CVC also sought details of progress made by the CBI in the coal block allocation case. The issue of missing files pertaining to the coal scam did not come up for discussion during the review. A separate meeting will be held on the matter.

Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar looked into the progress in various corruption cases being handled by the CBI and other matters related to the delay in granting sanction for prosecution of government officials, sources said. CBI Director-General Ranjit Sinha briefed Kumar on the developments.

The CVC is statutorily mandated to superintend the work of the CBI with respect to investigations conducted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CVC Act of 2003 empowers the commission to exercise superintendence over the functioning of the CBI in corruption cases and review the progress. The CVC is also empowered to give suitable directions to the CBI for such purposes.

Sources said Yadav’s case was discussed against the backdrop of reports of the CBI planning to close the case as the agency was unable to collect enough evidence. The CBI probe into the matter came following a PIL in the Supreme Court in November 2005, alleging that Yadav and his family acquired properties disproportionate to the known sources of their income.

In a letter to Sinha two days ago, India Rejuvenation Initiative, a forum of eminent personalities like Justice R C Lahoti, said that they were dismayed with the functioning of the CBI in quite a few cases, in which the organisation has played it cool to the extent  of dragging its feet.

On the Yadav case, the IRI said: “It is more than eight months since the court directed  the CBI to take such “independent action” as it may consider appropriate.  lt is surprising  that there has been no follow-up action. Actually, the Supreme  Court’s directions were initially given on March  1, 2007. lf we were to calculate from that date, more than six years have passed  and the matter  is still hanging  fire.”
On the missing files related to the coal scam, they said, a separate meeting has been convened. All issues related to court-monitored probes will be taken up during this meeting.

Kumar is understood to have asked the CBI chief to ensure that the investigations gain pace.

The CBI is required to complete investigation into a case within a year. Completion of the investigation will lead to filing of charge sheets in courts, wherever warranted, after receipt of sanction from a competent authority.

The commission observed that while the CBI has completed investigations within a year, there have been delays in completing investigations into certain cases.

“Reasons for delays include delay in receipt of prosecution sanction from competent authorities, delay in obtaining responses to Letters Rogatory (LRs), and delay in obtaining reports from forensic laboratories,” the CVC said in its annual report.

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