Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam: Though political leaders fall under the ambit of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the number of trap and disproportionate cases booked against them is in the single digits.
In the last decade, only four legislators have been by the Anti-Corruption Bureau based on the complaints filed with it. The ACB in 2012 registered a case against Karnataka-based mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and his brother Gali Somashekhar Reddy for allegedly paying money to secure bail. They had been arrested in the Obalapuram mining scam.
The second case booked by the ACB was in 2015 against then TD legislators A. Revanth Reddy (now with the Congress) and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, in the cash-for-vote scam. Mr Revanth Reddy was caught red-handed handing over unaccounted cash to nominated Anglo-Indian MLA Elvis Stephenson for voting in favour of the TDP in the Legislative Council elections.
The ACB has filed chargesheets and trial is on in both the cases. Asked why ACB does not plan a trap or register a DA case against politicians, a senior officer explained, “It requires a complaint to register a case or a direction from the government to investigate”.
In AP, a query filed under the Right to Information Act revealed no politician had been booked by the ACB since the formation of the state. This has left many people wondering how the ACB has not managed to nab politicians when it has routinely caught officials having crores worth assets.
RTI activist K.G.B. Rao of Vizag had sought the information from joint director (co-ordination) of the AP ACB to give details about how many politicians had been caught under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act, how many trap and assets cases were booked against employees and politicians in the last five years.
The ACB stated that as per Section 2 of the PC Act, 1988 whoever receives government remuneration will be called a government or public servant. This includes MLAs, MPs and other politicians.
It said only one political representative was booked in 2012 till March 31, 2017. During the same period, 646 trap cases and 109 disproportionate assets cases were registered against the government officials.
“Unless the political system is accountable, going after individual cases of corruption will achieve little. The ACB is under the thumb of political parties and has done nothing to unearth the illegal assets of ministers and MLAs,” said senior CPM leader Ch Narasinga Rao. “I never ever heard that the ACB had taken a daring step against political representatives,” he said.
The ACB would register trap cases on a specific complaint and assets cases on source information. This implies that no complaint was registered and there was no source for detecting the assets of public servants, said the ACB joint director....