27 cases of non-compliance by govt depts to punish corrupt, maximum by railways: CVC

There was one each case of non-adherence of the probity watchdog's advice by New India Assurance Company Ltd, V O Chidambaram Port Authority and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, it said

Photo courtesy: Social Media
Photo courtesy: Social Media


Government departments have differed from the Central Vigilance Commission's advice to punish corrupt officials in 27 cases, a maximum of seven such instances by the Ministry of Railways alone, according to an official report.

There were three cases of non-compliance of the CVC's advice to act against the corrupt officials by the NBCC (India) Ltd and two each by the State Bank of India, Coal Ministry and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, it said.

One each such case was by the Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Transco Ltd, Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Ministry of Textiles, Bird Group of Companies, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Industrial Development Bank of India among others, said the CVC's annual report for 2022.

There was one each case of non-adherence of the probity watchdog's advice by New India Assurance Company Ltd, V O Chidambaram Port Authority and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, it said.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), in the exercise of its functions and powers under Section 8(1) (g) of the CVC Act, 2003, tenders advice to the central government, corporations, government companies, societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the central government.

The advice is tendered by the Commission based on a reasoned appreciation of all the facts, documents and records relating to a particular case, which are brought to its notice by the organisation concerned, the report said.

“Non-acceptance of the Commission's advice vitiates the vigilance process and weakens the impartiality of the vigilance administration. However, there are cases of deviation from the prescribed procedure or non-acceptance of the Commission's advice,” it said.

The CVC has observed that during the year 2022, there were some significant deviations from the Commission's advice, said the report made public recently.

Mentioning details, it said the then Senior Divisional Engineer (Sr. DEN) failed to investigate into complaints received from Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) and also failed to exercise due diligence in scrutiny of credential documents of a firm, resulting in award of contract to a firm on fake/forged credential papers.

The Commission had advised the imposition of a major penalty. However, the railway board imposed only a minor penalty.

"Imposition of only minor penalty by the disciplinary authority i.e. railway board, is a deviation from Commission's advice," the report said.

The acceptance of the CVC's reasoned advice in an overwhelming majority of cases by the disciplinary authorities is an indication of the objectivity and fairness of the Commission's advice, it said.

"However, in some cases of officers covered under the Commission's jurisdiction, either the prescribed consultation mechanism with the Commission was not adhered to, or the authorities concerned did not accept the Commission's advice,” the report said.

Further, there have been instances where the advice tendered by the Commission has been substantially diluted without approaching it for reconsideration of its advice, as per extant procedure, it added.

The report, citing another instance, also said that irregularities were noticed in the issuance of a letter of credit (LC) to a private limited company by the State Bank of India officials.

"The estimated loss to the bank was Rs 22.04 crore. After the imposition of major penalty on all the 5 officers, the appellate committee modified the penalty to a minor penalty of censure," the report said.

The "modification" of major penalty to a minor penalty of censure by the appellate committee is a major deviation from the Commission's advice, it said.

The CVC, in its report, also highlighted certain "areas of concern".

"The Commission considers it imperative that complaints of any malpractices/irregularities are examined expeditiously by the authorities concerned," it said.

Some delays have been noticed at various levels of processing of the complaints along with the level at which decisions are to be taken by the competent authorities, the report said.

The Commission's constant endeavour is to sensitise the organisations about the importance of timely and efficient handling of complaints, it added.

The probity watchdog said that while examining vigilance cases received for advice, it has been noted that on some occasions the laid down procedures are not followed.

“It includes failure on part of the disciplinary authority to consult the Commission and/or DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training), delays in seeking advice and lack of knowledge of rules/regulations in disciplinary proceedings,” it added.

The CVC said that it has been impressing upon the organisations about the need for prompt action in vigilance-related matters.

“The Commission emphasises on expeditious investigation into complaints to determine the accountability for any improper conduct and finalisation of disciplinary proceedings within the prescribed time-schedule," it said, mentioning delays in disciplinary proceedings.

These factors not only contribute to the efficiency of the organisations but also sends a message to the erring officials that any inappropriate action or misconduct on their part would not go unpunished, the report said.

Some organisations take more than the prescribed time for implementation of the CVC's advice which includes delay in issuance of charge sheet, it said.

"Sometimes, the delinquent officer is allowed to retire, and the misconduct becomes time barred for initiation of departmental action. It has been observed that in some cases after the issuance of final orders, the authorities concerned did not ensure implementation of the penalty orders," the report said. 

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Published: 22 Aug 2023, 3:28 PM