Maharashtra okays prosecution of 42 officials for corruption

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 07 Maret 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Under pressure from the judiciary to act after a spate of high-profile graft cases involving public servants, the state government on Tuesday approved permission to prosecute over 42 officials prima facie found engaging in corruption. However, these do not include politicians or senior IAS officers, as has been repeatedly pointed out by the Bombay high court, which is hearing a PIL questioning the inordinate delay in granting sanction.

The heavyweights who have been left out include PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, ex-municipal commissioner of Akola L Deshmukh, IAS officer Ashok Lal, former Mhada official M B Appalwar, Congress MLA Ram Prasad Bordikar, Haffkine Biopharma MD Prakash Sabde and former Nashik municipal commissioner Bhaskar Sanap.

The committee comprising senior government officials which granted permission to prosecute in 42 cases, mainly from the home, urban and revenue departments, did not sanction the prosecution of or 'open' enquiries against these senior politicians and bureaucrats.

The government has dragged its feet on clearing the prosecution/investigation of over 150 administrators and politicians accused in graft cases, some of them for the last 12 years. The recent approvals have done little to alleviate the impression that it is fundamentally unwilling to take on corrupt officials and politicians-even the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has often cited this as the reason for the lack of headway in graft cases. "The court will surely ask at the next hearing why no big names are included. Also, it will want to know why the government has conveniently left ministers out of the ambit of the recent government resolution setting a three-month deadline for sanctions?" said an official.

The court on Wednesday asked the state government how many cases were pending where sanction has not yet been given for prosecution of public servants in corruption cases. In his affidavit, joint secretary (home) Ruprao Deshmukh said seven reminders were sent to department secretaries between 2011 and 2012 to approve pending ACB proposals at the earliest. Officials told TOI their response was far from ideal. The next hearing is on March 8.

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