Shimla (Nov 26): Himahal Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed the state government to furnish an affidavit explaining its stand on revoking suspension of tainted officers being charged in various corruption cases.
Hearing a petition filed by former Solan district drug controller Sher Singh, allegedly caught in a corruption case in 2008 by the State Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (SV&ACB), the high court considered an affidavit submitted by the state DGP giving detailed list of officer with doubtful integrity and charged in corruption cases whose suspension was revoked during investigation period by the state government.
The division bench (DB) of Hiamchal Pradesh High Court comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice VK Sharma on Thursday ordered the state chief secretary to file an affidavit within four week. During the haring, the AG made available a list of officers (with doubtful integrity) in the form of an affidavit before the court showing the places of posting of the officers as it was sought by the DB in an order passed on October 18, 2010.
The affidavit details the reasons of delay in completing investigation and prosecution in vigilance cases, as delay in the FSL lab, owing to the non-availability of the approved valuer, on account of inadequacy of staff and other infra-structural facilities in the vigilance wing and time taken by the Government in granting or refusing the action.
The affidavit submitted by the DGP stated: “The SV&ACB recommends to the government that the officers of doubtful integrity should not be posted on sensitive posts in the field where public dealing is involved”. It is also stated in the affidavit of the DGP that “SV&ACB invariably recommends suspension and transfer of the officers caught red-handed accepting bribe so that they may not influence witnesses or tamper with the evidence”.
After considering the affidavit submitted by the DGP, the bench observed, “these aspects certainly require appropriate action at the level of the government. There will be a direction to the chief secretary to look into some of the aspects as highlighted in the affidavit filed by the DGP and file an affidavit as to what action the government proposes to take in the matter.”
The Court asked the CS to explain whether posting of such officers of doubtful integrity and particularly those officers who have actually been found guilty by the court and whose cases are still under investigation or are facing the trial and yet posted in sensitive posts would reflect the commitment of the government to zero tolerance on corruption and whether the same is in tune with the Vigilance Manual of the Himachal Pradesh government.
The court asked CS to state in the affidavit whether it is not required or at least advisable to have clearance of the vigilance at the time of review and revocation of suspension of tainted officers under
the Prevention of Corruption Act or in those cases the investigation or trial is still in progress.
The court also observed that as far as the steps to be taken by the judiciary in streamlining the process of prosecution, appropriate action by the high court would be taken immediately on administrative side.