Indian National Lok Dal’s lone MLA Abhay Chautala Wednesday questioned the seriousness of the BJP-JJP coalition government in tackling corruption asking why it challenged acquittals in only five of the 28 cases in which the accused were booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Abhay, a former Leader of Opposition, also took on Speaker Gian Chand Gupta for not allowing him to ask supplementary questions during the Question Hour on the third day of the ongoing Budget Session of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha.
Abhay was seeking government’s response on the expenditure incurred on the state-level anti-corruption day organized in Panchkula on December 9, 2019. After the government stated that it spent Rs 5.5 lakh, Abhay began referring to various scams including the paddy procurement scam and kilometre scam to which the Speaker objected.
Interrupting Abhay, Speaker told him that he can not give a “speech” and should confine to his question. Abhay reiterated that he was only speaking on the issues referring to corruption and wants the concerned minister’s reply on it. Abhay added, “Even the government’s own senior officers have admitted that there was a scam in paddy procurement”.
Abhay had also sought information on the district-wise total number of cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act from January 1, 2015 till date. He had also sought current status of all such cases in which the government had filed appeals in the higher courts against the acquittal of accused.
In his reply, Home Minister Anil Vij mentioned that a total of 250 cases were registered from January 1, 2015 till December 31, 2019 out of which 11 were “untraced” while 73 got “cancelled”. Vij added that while 45 cases were still under investigation, 121 were put in court of which 82 were under trial, and in 11 cases the accused were convicted while in 28 they were acquitted.
Vij further said that government has challenged the acquittals in five cases.
“I am shocked to receive such a reply and that too from a minister who talks of curbing the corruption. What are the reasons that prevented government from challenging other 23 acquittals? If the government had registered corruption cases against officials without any proof that eventually resulted in their acquittals, then what action did they take against the complainants? Why no action was taken against the officials who could not provide ample proof against the accused in courts,” asked Abhay
He further said that corruption cases were registered against innocent people resulting in humiliation of those accused and their families in society and officials who were responsible for that were let off. “Why no action has been taken against such officials?”.
Later, in the evening, Abhay told the media persons that he wants that the government must get a CBI probe into the paddy procurement scam, kilometre scam, scholarship scam, VAT scam, illegal mining in Aravalis and all other scandals that have emerged during BJP’s tenure in the last five years.
Talking about the day’s proceedings, he said, “I was talking about various corruption cases that need a thorough probe, but the Speaker interrupted me citing rules that I can not ask more than two supplementary questions. Vidhan Sabha is a platform, where I want to highlight various scandals committed by the current government. I again urge the government to reveal the status of investigations, if any, into all these cases and apprise the House about what action it took against erring officials”.
In his reply, which was also tabled in the House, Vij had also cited figures on the cases registered under Prevention of Corruption Act by the state Vigilance Department from January 1, 2015 till December 31, 2019. It showed that Vigilance department registered maximum of 161 corruption cases in Rohtak range out of which it secured convictions in 42 and the accused were acquitted in 47. Government has challenged acquittals in seven cases. Similarly, in Hisar, 142 cases were registered. In 28 cases the accused were convicted and in 50 they were acquitted; government has challenged one acquittal. In Gurugram range, 131 cases were registered (convictions in 18, acquittals in 55); in Ambala range, 49 cases were registered (convictions in 10, acquittals in seven); in Karnal range, 36 cases were registered (no conviction, one acquittal). Further, in Faridabad range, 24 cases were registered out of which there is zero conviction and one acquittal. Government has not challenged this acquittal, yet. Also, 18 cases were registered in Panchkula range out of which three were convicted and four were acquitted. Government has challenged all these four acquittals in higher courts.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines