Mumbai,Radhika Ramaswamy:The State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has put up on their website a list of 343 pending open inquiries in the State. The oldest such case dates back to 2006. The department said it put up the list as a transparency measure, which will speed up investigations by the concerned officer and also put enough pressure on the accused.
A senior ACB official pointed out that since many of the cases involve officials at the senior level, there is a delay as the accused do not cooperate with the investigations and postpone the submission of documents at different stages. With 90 cases, Nashik unit of the ACB has the highest number of pending open inquiries. Mumbai has a total of 48 pending open inquiries, Nagpur has 51 and Thane has 61.
Director- General (DG) of ACB, Pravin Dixit, pointed out, "These are cases which have received sanctions from concerned authorities but are pending with the ACB. Many a time, the accused refuses to furnish the documents required for the investigations, including financial documents, papers related to property, etc. They also demand extensions when they are summoned or simply don't cooperate with the case. All this leads to the delay."
The accused, who are generally class 1 or 2 officers, come under the radar of the ACB for open inquiries following allegations of illegal wealth or assets which are disproportionately high-value, considering than his or her known source of income. An ACB official said, "These allegations are verified and based on prima facie data, either the State government or the DG will issue sanction to inquire into the matter. But it takes years to complete investigations due to a number of bureaucratic obstacles."
The details put up on the website include names of the accused, pending since which year, time of sanction obtained and status update of each case. "The idea is to make it visible to the general public so that there is enough pressure on the officers to complete the case and on the accused to cooperate with the ACB. The public is free to ask for the reason of delay and concerned official will be answerable to them," added Dixit.
Some of the prominent cases listed are allegations into former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who was accused of misusing his official position in awarding the contract for Maharashtra Sadan to his friend and relatives not capable of executing such projects. The investigations started in December last year. Another case that is pending is Thane traffic DCP Nandkumar Chougule's, the investigation of which started in April 2012. He had allegedly rented out his property to a spa and used the place for sex trade and trafficking. Inquiries into his wealth and properties are still ongoing.