Lokayukta awaits prosecution sanction order in 72 cases

Lokayukta awaits prosecution sanction order in 72 cases

Some accused officials approach court for stay in the meantime

The process of granting Prosecution Sanction Orders (PSO) against government officials facing charges of corruption is back to the slow pace, despite the much-hyped file clearance drive last month.

The Lokayukta police are waiting for PSOs in 72 cases, of which 28 requests are biting dust for the last one year. In some cases, including five trap cases, the competent authorities have rejected PSOs. After Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s assurance in July 2013, a total of 75 PSOs were cleared. However, the PSOs pending for more than one year have not been cleared.

“Time and again, it has been brought to the notice of various department heads that it is a set rule after the Supreme Court held that any request for PSO should be disposed of within three months. If there are some queries, the  authority concerned can take one more month. In October 2011, the then chief secretary S V Ranganath had issued a circular to all department heads to dispose of PSO requests within the stipulated time,” a senior official said.

Of the 72 pending PSO requests, 44 are trap cases, 19 raids and nine court-referred and suo motu cases. Lokayukta sources said that the delay in clearing prosecution sanction allowed time to the accused government officials to move court and obtain stay.

“In the case against Somashekhar, Deputy Commissioner, Excise, Belgaum, the PSO request was sent in March 2012. Two reminders were sent in November 2012 and February 2013, but to no avail. The accused official moved the High Court and in March 2013, the FIR was quashed. We have filed an appeal before the Supreme Court. In some cases, the request for PSO has been cleared against the junior official, while the process against the senior official has been withheld. The charge sheet cannot be filed until the request for PSO is cleared against the main accused,” the official said. In one of the trap cases involving a former inspector of the Ulsoorgate police station and a constable, sanction was cleared against only the constable. Similarly, in the trap case against S M Raju (IAS), the then director of Employment Exchange and Training, sanction has been accorded only against the other accused Shivalingamurthy, joint director of the department.  

Among the raid cases, the competent authority has been dillydallying to accord PSO against the chief engineer of the Hemavathi project. The first letter was sent in May 2012, with repeated reminders in March 2014 and May 2014. Same is the fate with the prosecution request sent in May 2013, against C Mrutyunjaya Swamy, former secretary, Public Works Department.