The Commission has observed that there have been some delays in completing investigations in certain cases, the CVC's annual report for 2019 said.
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As many as 678 cases were under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), 25 of them for more than five years, as on December 31, 2019, a latest report by the Central Vigilance Commission has said. The CBI is normally required to complete investigation of a registered case within one year.
Completion of investigation would imply filing of charge sheets in courts wherever warranted, after receipt of sanction from the competent authority. The Commission has observed that there have been some delays in completing investigations in certain cases, the CVC’s annual report for 2019 said.
The report was tabled in Parliament in the recently-concluded monsoon session and uploaded by the CVC on its website on Sunday. The CVC said out of the total 678 cases under investigation, 268 were pending for less than one year, 177 for more than one year but less than two years, 122 for more than two years but less than three years, 86 for over three years but less than five years and 25 for over five years.
The CVC, which exercises superintendence over CBI probe in corruption cases, cited some of the reasons for the pendency including delay in investigation due to work overload, inadequacy of manpower and delay in obtaining responses to Letters Rogatory (LRs) among others.
It highlighted delay in receipt of prosecution sanction from competent authorities, etc., delay in supply of departmental records by the concerned department, time taken in scrutiny of voluminous records, specially in economic offences and bank fraud cases and time spent in locating and examining witnesses living in distant places as the other reasons for the pendency.
The Commission also expressed concerns about the slow progress of disposal of the large number of cases pending trial in different courts for long periods, at times for over twenty years.
Of the total 6,226 corruption cases pending trials, 182 were pending for more than 20 years, 1,599 for more than ten years and upto 20 years, 1,883 for over five years and upto ten years, 1,177 for over three years and upto five years and 1,385 for less than three years, as on December 31, 2019, the report said.
Such inordinate delays in investigation defeat the very purpose of efficient vigilance administration and are an impediment to the fight against corruption. The Commission has been emphasising that effective measures are required to be taken to increase the disposal of pending Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act cases under trial/appeals/revisions in order to effectively combat corruption, it said.
The pendency of these cases has been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned with a request for such appropriate action as are possible to expedite the finalisation of such cases, the CVC said.
It said some of the reasons for delay in trials are limited number of hearings, non-availability of witnesses, dilatory tactics adopted by the accused by way of filing applications for transfer of cases from one court to another court challenging the legality of investigation by CBI and court stay, etc. and inadequate strength of prosecution staff due to vacancies.
There were 11,380 appeals and revisions pending in PC Act cases in various courts as on December 31, 2019. As many as 338 such appeals and revisions were pending in the Supreme Court, 11,031 in High Court, eight in Session Court and three in Additional Session Court, the CVC’s annual report said.
Of these 11,380 appeals and revisions, 151 were pending for more than 20 years, 377 for more than 15 years but less than 20 years, 1,485 for over ten years but less than 15 years, 3,231 for over five years but less than ten years, 2,540 for more than two years but less than five years and 3,596 for less than two years, it said. The CVC said 74 departmental cases were pending at various stages against CBI personnel.
The Commission regularly reviews cases pending against CBI officers. Pendency of cases against CBI officers reflects on the reputation and image of the country’s premier investigation agency, it said.
As on December 31, 2019, 47 departmental cases against Group A officers and 27 cases against Group B and C officials of the CBI were pending at various stages, the report said, adding that 37 of these cases were pending for more than four years.