Andhra Pradesh: It takes a decade to prove corrupt guilty

Only 50 per cent seized properties turn illegal.

Visakhapatnam: It is raining crorepatis for the Andhra Pradesh Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for past few months as over 20 tainted officials were netted by ACB for amassing illegal assets over and above their known source of income. But, in most of the disproportionate assets (DA) cases, only 40 per cent to 50 per cent of seized properties of the tainted officials were found to be disproportionate assets over and above their known source of income. The ACB has struggled to establish that the entire seized properties were bought by graft money. Those who indulged in corruption had turned smart and found many ways to get away with ill-gotten money. More over it took at least one decade for the ACB to prove the guilty of the accused persons in DA cases.

J. Ganesh, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) was arrested by ACB for accumulating assets worth Rs 1.6 crore disproportionate to his unknown sources of income in 2002. Nearly after 13 years of the case, he was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by the court of the Second Additional Special Judge for ACB cases, Vizag and the court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh in May 2015. The assets worth only Rs 41 lakh were found to be disproportionate to his known sources of income. The ACB officials have said that Ganesh has misused the World Bank’s funds which were meant for developing the forest and also protection of forest.

In another best example, B. Govinda Rao, Assistant Engineer at Panchayat Raj Department, Tekkali in Srikakulam district was arrested by ACB for possessing illegal assets to the tune of Rs 26 lakh in 2005. He was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment and he was fined Rs 75,000 by the court of the Special Judge for ACB cases, Vizag in the DA case in 2015 and of the total unearthed illegal assets of Rs 26 lakh, only Rs 13 lakh worth assets were found to be disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Admitting that in most of the DA cases, the accused managed to claim half of the seized property by the ACB is not illegal, Senior advocate and president of Forum of Legal Professionals Kuppili Muralidhar said that there is lot of delay occurring in the disposal of ACB and CBI cases mainly because of inadequate number of courts in the state. There is large number of judicial vacancies to be filled. Even otherwise when the judge posts fall vacant either due to retirement, death or transfer, the vacancies are not immediately filled up thereby delaying the process further, he added.

Director General of ACB, RP Thakur said that for the case to stand in the court and speedy judgements in the cases, we require evidences and thus we are planning to use digital equipments and latest technology for increasing the conviction rate. Our teams are also focusing on to identify the benamies of the tainted officials in DA cases to prove that at least 90 per cent of the seized properties of the officials is illegally amassed, he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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