Anti-graft helpline: AAP’s second inningshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/anti-graft-helpline-second-innings/

Anti-graft helpline: AAP’s second innings

Anti-graft helpline got 1.2 lakh calls, but only one case registered.

AAP, anti-graft helpline, aam aadmi party, arvind kejriwal, kejriwal news
Kejriwal on his way to attend a janta darbar. (Source: Express Photo)

Of the 1.2 lakh calls received on the Anti-Corruption helpline 1031 during the 49 days of the AAP government in 2013, only one case relating to a sting operation has been registered with the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government.

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The helpline was constituted primarily to solicit sting operations against corrupt practices by any wing of the state or Central government.

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However, while most turned out to be mere calls without much evidence, of those that were identified as worth investigating, 98 per cent eventually turned out to be cases against Delhi Police personnel. Action against them could not be taken owing to a notice by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which restricted ACB action against Central government employees.

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Despite these shortcomings, AAP sources said they will continue the same format of the helpline under the new government. Sources said even though the ACB will no longer be in a position to investigate cases against Central government officials, the idea that Central government employees are conscious of the fact that another department is aware of the corrupt practices of some of its employees, if any, would create a sense of fear.

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Sources in the ACB told Newsline that during the 49-day government of the AAP, the helpline received a total of 1.2 lakh calls. However, according to data available with the ACB, of the total calls, only 4,000 were related to corruption. Of these, only 300 were evidence-based, which had the potential to be investigated further.

According to ACB officials, the stings that were shortlisted were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to ascertain whether the tapes had been tampered with. By the time the reports were obtained from the FSL, six to seven months had passed. On July 23, 2014, the MHA issued a notification stating that the 1993 announcement permitting ACB to probe cases under the Prevention of Corruption (PoC) Act will only be applicable to officials of the Delhi government.

Following this, all sting operations relating to alleged corrupt practices by Delhi Police personnel were transferred to the Delhi Police. Finally, the remaining cases with the ACB are pending investigation since a series of procedures are yet to be completed.

Only one case of a sting was registered on January 8, 2014, by Manoj Kumar Nagar, a small-time businessman. The FIR registered under sections of bribery and threat was against a Delhi Police head constable, who had allegedly asked Nagar to pay him Rs 30,000 for three beams that had been installed at his under-construction house.

Although there are several stages prior to the registration of an FIR — including obtaining a prosecution sanction from the department of the official concerned and obtaining voice samples — the FIR in Nagar’s case was registered immediately owing to two factors.

One, it was the first FIR registered through the hotline and, second, Nagar had made the ACB officials listen in on the audio recording of the constable allegedly seeking bribe. However, the case is yet to reach the court and is still under investigation. The voice sample of the constable is still to be obtained.