Economic offences trial pendency 98 percent in Odisha

The higher rate of pendency is attributed to the process of documentation by the police and specialised wings such as EOW.
Image for representational purpose only. (Express Illustration)
Image for representational purpose only. (Express Illustration)

BHUBANESWAR: At a time when economic offences rise exponentially, the pendency of trial of such cases in the courts stands at 98.8 per cent in Odisha. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report-2022, Lakshadweep topped with a 100 pc pendency rate, while Manipur stood second with 99.2 pc and Uttarakhand and Bihar at 99 pc each, followed by Odisha.

Around 25,532 economic offences cases from previous year were pending trial in 2022. Another 3,579 such cases were sent for trial last year. While the number of cases pending police investigation from 2021 was 5,524, another 6,229 economic offences cases were reported in 2022.

The NCRB report suggested that investigation of about 1,014 cases ended as mistake of fact/law/civil dispute. Around 1,376 cases were found to be true but police could not proceed with the probe due to insufficient evidence and other reasons. By the end of 2022, about 5,565 economic offences cases were pending investigation.

The higher rate of pendency is attributed to the process of documentation by the police and specialised wings such as EOW. “In most such cases, gathering material evidence by way of collection of key documents takes time. But this also means even if certain witnesses turn hostile, the cases are water-tight and end in conviction because of solid documentation,” reasoned a senior officer of EOW.

Interestingly though, conviction rate (percentage of cases convicted out of cases in which trials completed) in such offences in the state is only 5.8. Only 17 economic offences cases pending trial from the previous year ended in conviction in 2022. Only two cases of 2022 ended in conviction the same year. The trial of only 325 economic offences cases could be completed in 2022. The number of cases pending trial by the end of last year stood at 28,776.

Similarly, the number of chargesheets filed in 2022 was also not very impressive. The police filed chargesheet in 1,778 cases from previous year (2021) and 1,801 chargesheets for cases registered last year.
In the last few years, economic offences have witnessed a significant rise in Odisha.

The state reported 4,028 cases in 2020 which jumped to 6,229 in 2022, registering a whopping 56 pc jump. Most of the economic offences cases (5,352) were related to forgery, cheating and fraud, followed by (865) of criminal breach of trust.About 106 victims lost money between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. At least 25 people were cheated of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh in offences related to breach of trust, the NCRB report said.

POOR STATE OF AFFAIRS

100 pc pendency of trial in Lakshadweep, Manipur at 99.2 pc
Conviction rate in Odisha is 5.8
Only 17 EO cases pending trial from 2021 ended in conviction in 2022
1,801 chargesheets of EO cases registered last year
56 pc jump in EO cases between 2020 and 2022

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