New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has found 54 cases in which government departments deviated from its advice to act against corrupt officials, according to the vigilance body's annual report.
A highest of 20 such cases were related to Indian Railways, three each in Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd, two each in Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Ministry of Ayush (Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences or CCRAS), the State Bank of India and the Airports Authority of India, it said.
"The commission has observed that during the year 2019, there were some significant deviations from the commission's advice," stated the annual report 2019, tabled in the recently-concluded Parliament session and uploaded on the CVC's website on Sunday. Besides these, one case each was related to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Vijaya Bank, Central Bank of India, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, EXIM Bank, Scooters India Ltd, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Electrical Machines Ltd), Cotton Corporation of India, Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT Engineering and Design Organisation) and the State Trading Corporation of India Ltd, it said.
One case each of deviation of the anti-corruption watchdog's advice was also related to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi, said the report. "Non-acceptance of the commission's advice or non-consultation with the commission vitiates the vigilance process and weakens the impartiality of vigilance administration," the report said.
The CVC mentioned details of the cases of deviation or non-compliance of its advice against the corrupt officials by the government departments concerned. In one case of the railways, it said during 2010 and 2011, the General Manager (GM) and part-time Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of a railway central public sector enterprise (CPSE) submitted medical bills for inadmissible items and pressured officials to accept those for payment.
"She further preferred claims for reimbursement of expenses towards the entertainment of official guests on holidays and for items of domestic consumption, which were inadmissible under extant rules," the CVC said. In November 2016, the commission advised initiation of major penalty proceedings against the then GM, it said.
"The Disciplinary Authority, vide order dated 22.03.2019, exonerated the charged official in deviation from the commission's advice of major penalty," the report said. In another case, it said the CBI conducted a surprise check of a train along with officials of railway vigilance in the presence of two independent witnesses in November 2016.
"It was found that the then IG-cum-Chief Security Commissioner/RPF was carrying 36 carton boxes and bags etc full of household goods with him in the inspection carriage. No approval was obtained for carrying this luggage in the inspection carriage as it was not permitted under rules," the report said. According to the tour programme submitted by the officer, he was going to Bhubaneswar to attend meetings and attend a departmental inquiry and an inspection carriage (saloon) was allotted to him for this purpose, it said.
"The Disciplinary Authority, vide order dated 22.04.2019, imposed a minor penalty of censure on the charged officer in deviation from the commission's advice of initiation of major penalty proceedings against the officer," the CVC report said. Giving details of a case related to the State Bank of India, it said a consortium of six public sector banks extended credit facilities of Rs 871.76 crore to a group of three companies dealing with IT solutions and client management services.
"The consortium leader having exposure of 53 per cent of total exposure sought Commission's advice in respect of 12 officials pointing out various lapses viz. diversion of funds by the company, non-genuine receivables, non-compliance of terms of sanction, non-perfection of security, stock and receivables audit not being carried out etc," the report said. The commission advised initiation of major penalty proceedings for two officers, minor penalty proceedings for four officials and no action to be taken against six, it said.
The Disciplinary Authority recommended no action for a DGM level official after the conclusion of the departmental inquiry for whom the commission had advised major penalty proceedings, the report said. "The CVO differed with the views of the disciplinary authority and proposed a minor penalty. This was in variance with the commission's first stage advice (major penalty) and therefore the case was referred to the Commission for its second stage advice. The commission tendered its second stage advice for the imposition of suitable major penalty on the DGM," the CVC said.
The disciplinary authority disagreed with the second stage advice of the commission and proposed no action against the DGM, the report said. "Given the deviation from commission's advice for a major penalty, the commission is reporting this deviation in its annual report," it said.