Own probe leading nowhere,agency seeks CID help; counsel says cases against the corrupt will fall flat
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is in a spot,with a large sum of bribe money seized from corrupt officials and files related to these cases stolen right from its state headquarters in Ahmedabad.
With no headway in its own investigations,the ACB has now asked CID (Crime) to take over the probe.
Five high-profile cases in which both the seized money and files have vanished include ones related to Income Tax Deputy Commissioner (Central Circle) Ghanshyam Meena,two police officers,a district panchayat officer and a sales tax officer.
ACB fears it may have to close some of these corruption cases now if the CID too fails to get the stolen stuff back.
ACB sources said the theft came to notice in the last week of December 2010 when officials were about to file the chargesheet in Meenas case. They found that Meenas file and even the bribe amount of Rs 2 lakh were missing from their record room.
As they scoured for the missing file,they discovered,to their acute embarrassment,that some other important files that were to be taken for court proceedings were also missing. The money,too,was gone.
ACBs DySP R C Kotad lodged an FIR against a clerk,F Parmar,and an investigation began but nothing came out of it. An inquiry was done but nothing came out of it. The case has been handed over to the CID (Crime),Kotad said.
DySP S H Jhala of CID (Crime) declined to share details,saying they have been asked to keep the probe strictly under wraps. The investigation has been given to us to find out how the case files went missing. The matter is confidential, he said.
Whenever ACB lays a trap on any government servant,it uses specific methods,like money coated with phenolphthalein or anthracene. Once a bribe-taker is trapped,the ACB prepares a case file containing statements of the complainant,versions of the witnesses and the investigating officer. This case file is the most important evidence against an accused in a corruption case.
The recovery of the phenolphthalein or anthracene coated notes is essential for them to book the accused. The failure to recover substantially weakens the case against an accused.
K T Dave,a senior counsel for the Central government,said,Corroborative evidence will be missing in such cases. Without the files and the money,the cases will solely depend on the oral versions in the court,which may not be strong enough to nail the accused. The cases have become weak and chances of securing convictions are very low.