While a Supreme Court order in January said the government has to give sanction to prosecute a corrupt minister or a public servant within four months of a request in this regard,data obtained by The Indian Express through RTI reveals that such clearance has not come through in cases even two years after it was first sought.
Last week,the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) issued instructions to various departments to follow the deadline for sanction of prosecution.
In case prosecution sanction is to be denied,the DoPT said,departments must submit copies of orders refusing sanction to prosecute to the next higher authority (the Prime Minister,in case of an order passed by the minister-in-charge of a department),within seven days.
However,as the RTI reply received from the DoPT itself shows,the oldest request for sanction to prosecute pending with it dates back to January 2010. The DoPT is the cadre controlling authority of IAS officers.
An application had been sent then regarding Orissa cadre officer Prafull Chandra Mishra,who is accused of irregularities in pricing of IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) while he was chairman of State Breweries Corporation. The DoPT response to the RTI mentions that Mishra threatened criminal action against officers of state and Central government who issued sanction in an earlier case.
The second oldest case pending with the DoPT involves Bihar cadre officer Shiv Shankar Verma,accused of irregularities in land allotment. In his case the request for prosecution sanction is pending since June 14,2010. Says the DoPT reply: The state government has been requested and reminded to provide (a) complete set of case records,which were not received with the proposal.
In all,the DoPT is yet to take a decision in 19 cases against 15 IAS officers where agencies have completed investigation and sought prosecution sanction. In 11 of these cases,the requests for prosecution sanction have been pending for over four months. While five requests have come from the CBI,state vigilance and Lokayuktas have sent the other applications.
Before the request for sanction to prosecute is sent,reports of investigating officers are scrutinised by DIG-,IG-level officers in the CBI and thereafter by the DG before it goes to the law officers concerned of the agency.
The DoPT got the latest request for sanction on March 7 and that concerns another Orissa cadre IAS officer,Vinod Kumar,who is facing charges in a housing loan scam.
In the first four months of 2012,the department received requests for prosecution against seven officers. It has cleared only one prosecution so far that of Gujarat cadre IAS officer O Ravi (on January 25). In case of Himachal cadre officer Sanjay Gupta,permission was denied. Both cases dealt with corruption.
The officers against whom requests have come in this year are P K Mohanty (Orissa),Y Srilakshmi (Andhra Pradesh),L V Subramanyan (Andhra),B P Acharya (Andhra),Raghav Chandra (Madhya Pradesh),B V Selvaraj (AGMU) and Abraham Varicamakkal (AGMU).
Since March 2008,the DoPT has denied sanction for prosecution in case of nine officers,including Mahesh Gupta and R K Sharma,who are facing charges in a scam in recruitment of Group C staff.
The DoPT took two years to refuse sanction against these officers. Prosecution of Vinod Chandra Semwal (Madhya Pradesh),Manoj Kumar Singh (Uttar Pradesh),K B S Sidhu (Punjab),L V Subramanyam (Andhra),Ravi Shankar Srivastava (Rajasthan),Subhash Chand Ahluwalia (Himachal) and Sanjay Gupta (Himachal) was also denied.