NEW DELHI, Feb 22 (PTI): Thirty-eight CBI requests seeking prior approval to begin investigation into corruption cases against a total of 83 employees are pending with various central and state government departments, according to an official data.
Section 17 (A) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act bars any police officer to “conduct any enquiry or inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant” without the previous approval of the competent authority.
Earlier in the day, the Centre accorded permission under Section 17 A to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for initiating a probe against Delhi’s Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in a case related to alleged collection of “political intelligence” through a Delhi government department.
The Section was inserted in the PC Act, 1988 through an amendment in 2018.
However, no such approval is “necessary for cases involving arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person”, according to the amended law.
A total of 38 requests, a few of them sent in 2019, seeking prior permission to act against 83 allegedly corrupt public servants were pending with different central and state governments authorities for more than four months of stipulated time period, according to the latest data, updated till November 2022.
Of the total cases, three requests seeking prior approval to proceed against 13 allegedly corrupt public servants were pending with the Uttar Pradesh government; nine requests against as many employees were pending with the Income Tax department, according to the data.
Two references sent by the central probe agency to the CVO, Union Bank of India, to act against eight public servants were also pending, according to the data.
Four requests seeking prior sanction to act against seven allegedly corrupt public servants were pending with the Chief Vigilance Officer, Central Bank of India and a reference sent to the “LG, Chief Secretary and Revenue Secretary, Government of NCT Delhi” for permission to act against six allegedly corrupt public servants was awaiting the permission, the data showed.
Such requests were also pending with Chairman, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India; Department of Higher Education; Directorate General of Defence Estate; IDBI Bank Ltd; Indian Overseas Bank; Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation; Principal Secretary, Government of Rajasthan; and Additional Director General of Foreign Trade among others, according to the data.
Besides these, the CBI was also awaiting mandatory sanction under Section 19 of the PC Act to prosecute corrupt employees in 66 cases from different central and state government departments for over four months.
Section 19 makes it compulsory for the probe agency to seek permission from the government department concerned before filing a charge sheet against the public servant after its investigation.
Such requests for permission need to be decided upon within a maximum of four months.
“No court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 alleged to have been committed by a public servant, except with the previous sanction…,” reads Section 19 of the PC Act, that makes “previous sanction necessary for prosecution”.
Of the total of 66 cases, maximum nine cases were pending with the State Bank of India, five with the government of Uttar Pradesh, four with the Delhi government and three each with Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Coal Ministry, IDBI, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the Maharashtra government, according to another set of data, updated till November 2022.
Two such cases each were pending with the Department of Revenue, Lok Sabha, Home Ministry and Punjab National Bank and one case each was pending with the governments of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Central Board of Direct Taxes among others.
One case was also pending with the CBI itself, the data said.