Bombay High Court questions ACB for forwarding corruption complaints to its own departments

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday embarrassed the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) after it asked the investigating agency to explain why it forwards complaints to the State’s concerned departments where the corruption cases have occurred.

A division bench of Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre expressed displeasure over the functioning of the ACB. The judges were irked to note the anti graft agency while dealing with a complaint against a department, forwards the same to the concerned department itself.

The judges expressed their displeasure while hearing a Criminal Public Interest Litigation (CRPIL) filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar highlighting the failure of the ACB to initiate probe in accordance to his plaint, in which he claimed a parking lot was allotted to the office of the former chief minister Prithviraj Chauhan and the Urban Development Department (UDD).

During the course of hearing, Wategaonkar apprised the judges of the fact that the ACB had forwarded his complaint to the UDD, which in turn, closed the case and junked his plaint.

Having heard the contentions, the judges slammed the ACB for this practice saying, “This practice can be seen in almost every case now-a-days. The anti graft agency forwards every complaint it receives to the concerned state department. We fail to understand why the ACB is indulging in such kind of a practice as if the concerned department will accept that it has committed an offence.”

The judges further said the ACB should instead conduct a detailed probe initially and then leave it to the courts to decide if an

offence is made out or not. The judges said the anti graft agency must refrain from forming a final opinion in the initial stage in every case. Posting the matter after two weeks, the judges directed the counsel of ACB to spell out the process followed by the agency when it receives a complaint about corruption by public servants.

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