The ministry of personnel has issued normal working procedures (SOPs), in reference to Section 17A of the amended Prevention of Corruption Act, for probe by anti-corruption businesses that would make it tougher for investigation groups to investigate in opposition to ministers or public servants.
A CBI official advised News18 that the premier anti-corruption company has already been following the SOP of in search of the director’s nod earlier than beginning probe in opposition to ministers or senior authorities functionaries. “We have been following this system for some time now, the check list mentioned in the SOP will make it easier for the designated officer to decide if permission should be given or not,” the officer said.
An officer who has previously worked in the anti-corruption unit of a state, however, said the SOPs are meant as double layer protection for government functionaries and will make probe difficult. “It is only during preliminary enquiry that we get more evidence and details of a case. If a PE is struck down on grounds of insufficient material at the prior approval stage, it may not be the correct decision in some cases,” the officer told News18.
The SOPs state that any probe officer who finds material against a government servant will have to seek approval from a designated officer who would then decide if the case is fit for the “enquiry, inquiry or investigation”.
For Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, Supreme Court Judges and Public Sector Undertaking chief solely a Director General of police or in case of CBI, the director can approve the probe. For senior bureaucrats within the authorities and senior administration within the PSU it may be DGP/ Director or ADG rank officers. IGs can determine on center administration whereas DIGs on junior administration stage officers.
Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which was launched in 2018 has already ensured that authorities functionaries can’t be probed for choices taken throughout their stint with the federal government until caught crimson handed within the act of corruption. Retired CBI officers level out that such a clause would have made it tough for the CBI to cost sheet secretary stage officers on coal and 2G rip-off if such a provision existed again then.
With the recent SOPs, the Union authorities seeks to streamline the method of anti-corruption probe. The SOPs present for amongst different issues:
1. Stage-wise processing of data acquired by cops
2. Specifying the rank of cops underneath Section 17A in respect of various rank of public servants
3. Consideration of the proposal underneath Section 17A by the suitable authority or authorities
4. Laying down single window for receipt of proposal.
“It may be emphasised here that the provisions of section 17A stipulate a mandatory requirement for a Police Officer to seek previous approval for conducting any enquiry or inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties,” the SOP issued on September 3 acknowledged.
Detailing the method to be adopted by the probe company the SOP states, “The Police Officer of Appropriate Rank shall make a proposal to the Appropriate Government or Authority, as the case may be, through the single window procedure as laid down by these SOPs and shall ensure that the proposal is in accordance with the requirements laid down in the Check List and encloses clear, legible and authenticated documents, as may be required.”
Separate proposals should be submitted for enquiry, inquiry or investigation, because the case could also be. SOP mandates that the whole proposal be submitted in a sealed cowl in accordance with the desired examine record.
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