The ‘competent authorities’ at various government departments appear to be tactically clearing files related to prosecution sanction orders (PSO) against officials accused of corruption, effectively delaying further logical steps.
According to a senior Lokayukta police official, after the Chief Minister ordered immediate clearance of 138 pending cases in July, competent authorities (appointing authorities) cleared PSOs related to 74 lower-rung officials. However, the longest pending requests continue to remain in cold storage.
The PSO request related to IAS officer S M Raju is a case in point. Raju was trapped while allegedly accepting bribes from students appearing for a All India test of Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in 2004. A Bihar cadre officer, Raju was later repatriated to his parent cadre. “We have sent PSO requests regarding Raju for some time now. In 2011 and 2012, reminders were also sent, but there has been no reply,” a senior police officer said.
A Lokayukta official said, with regard to senior officials, including those from the IAS, PSOs have been rejected. In the case of chief engineer of NHAI T Bisserowda, who was charged after a raid related to disproportionate assets, the PSO was rejected. Similarly, a PSO against IAS officer Dr Babu Rao Mudabi was rejected by a review committee. He retired from service in May 2012 and another letter was sent to the government this May, requesting withdrawal of the rejection of sanction.
The Lokayukta sent a request to prosecute another IAS officer Dr V Chandrashekhar, former deputy commissioner- Bagalkot, in July after sanction was initially rejected.
Sources said six reminders were sent regarding the PSO against G Guruprasad, chief engineer of the Minor Irrigation Department, since 2009. However, there has not been a single reply to these.
Interestingly, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, seeking a PSO is supposed to be a formality. “Officials cannot reject it as it is not a request without investigation. The competent authority may ask for some clarification, which can be given at any point of time,’’ a senior official said.
Responding to questions, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee said, “In regard to PSOs against senior officers, a committee headed by the additional chief secretary reviews it. It is placed before me after this review. However, efforts will be made at the earliest and the process will be speeded up soon.’’