he Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has run into a wall of bureaucratic denial. The anti-corruption watchdog regularly reviews pending cases and even called for a probe into pending corruption cases, but little has resulted from its efforts. Earlier this year in January, the commission set a timeline to finalise pending cases. It directed all chief executives and vigilance officers in various government organisations to finalise pending cases from the period between January 2011 and December 2018 by end of May this year.
With just about a month left for the deadline, Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari has now upped the ante and advised Union ministries to sort out complaints against officers within three months of their receipt. Reminding them of the May 31 deadline, Kothari has now mandated that at the end of the third month from the date of receipt of the complaint and after deciding on a course of action, a copy of the complaint shall be made available to the concerned employee within 15 days. Once a decision is made to pursue the vigilance case, the concerned organisation shall send its inquiry report to the CVC or Chief Vigilance Officer seeking first stage advice within three months of registration of a case.
Key appointment hangs in balance
Away from the Covid-19 din, there is a tussle going on between the Punjab government and the Centre over the naming of 2002 batch IAS officer Vijay Namdeorao Zade as the Finance Secretary of the Chandigarh Administration. Zade was nominated by the UT administration for the post, which is reserved for Punjab cadre officers and is the third most important post after the UT Advisor and Home Secretary.
According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought details about Zade’s professional profile and other information in a 17-point proforma. It wanted to know about Zade’s completion of service in the cadre, the reason for seeking deputation, vigilance status and details of annual property returns etc.
Sources say that this is the first time the ministry has asked for such details and there is no convention for this. Despite their reservations, the Punjab government has responded by providing all the information that was sought about the official. There has been no action from the MHA since then. It has to be remembered, sources say, that the recommendation of Zade was forwarded to the Centre last year but there is no sign of any movement on the issue.
Maharashtra political rivalries affecting babus
The churning in police circles in Maharashtra continues unabated even after the unsavoury Param Bir Singh episode. And, not surprisingly, politics seems to drive most of what is going around these days between the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the opposition BJP.
The state government has now tasked Mumbai Police to investigate the leaking of a report on corruption in the state police to BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis. The report, sources say, was prepared by former state intelligence chief Rashmi Shukla but landed into the hands of Fadnavis. As part of the probe, the Mumbai Police has summoned Shukla, who is now ADG of CRPF, to Mumbai to join the investigation.
The back story is interesting. The FIR was filed at the behest of state Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, who had reportedly alleged in a report to Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray that the “finger of suspicion” seemed to point at Shukla herself. The episode has split opinion within the babu corridors with many murmurs about the probe as more of a hatchet job than a fair inquiry into the truth. The political waters in Maharashtra are roiled as it is, and this is hardly going to make way for more clarity.
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