The Central Vigilance Commission in its annual report has recorded more than 50 cases of alleged corruption, nepotism, red-tapism and high-handedness in 2016 in which the government departments concerned failed to initiate action despite being alerted by the CVC.
According to the report, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) initiated FIRs, even recommended suspension of the officials involved and action against senior functionaries of these departments. However, its advice was ignored or not fully acted upon.
According to the CVC’s report, the maximum number of these cases were related to the Ministry of Railways (12), followed by PSU banks (7), Ministry of Civil Aviation (5) and Central Excise and Customs (4).
In one case involving the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the CBI registered a case against officials of Kandla Port Trust (KPT) for alleged irregularities in the grant of 129.9 metres of cargo berth without government approval and out-of-turn berthing to a few vessels through “dishonest means”.
After completing the probe, the CBI recommended action against the then Chairman of KPT and others following which CVC advised major penalty. However, the commission was intimated by the ministry in December 2016 that there wasn’t any loss of revenue to the port, hence the disciplinary authority didn’t accept the advice of the CVC/CBI for initiating penalty against the accused.
Among the other major cases red-flagged in the CVC report are:
- Ministry of Civil Aviation: The CVC has mentioned about the alleged irregularities in awarding contract for cockpit crew transportation in Air India. The CVC advised the imposition of major penalty, however, the government exonerated the officer and only withdrew passages and post-retirement medical benefits.
- Delhi Development Authority: The report states that officers allegedly granted “undue favour” to a private school for allotment of land at Dwarka in New Delhi. CBI registered two FIRs. The case was, however, closed by the vice chairman, DDA without consulting CVC.
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research: A director at one of the institutes of ICAR allegedly purchased lab tables worth Rs 47 lakh in an irregular manner, the CVC ordered a major penalty, however, the charges were dropped by the department.
- Railways: CVC stated in its report that estimates were prepared for a tender on setting up solar panels at 20 level crossing gates in Southern Railway, without allegedly considering the actual requirement. This resulted in a cost difference of Rs 23.33 lakh, the report stated. The Railway authority ignored the CVC’s advice for imposing a major penalty and instead imposed a minor penalty.