The State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has witnessed a significant 28 per cent dip in the number of corruption cases registered in 2020 as compared to 2019. Toeing a similar pattern, cases registered by the Thane unit have gone down from 102 in 2019 to just 44 in 2020. The downward trend is clearly noticeable from March (-26%) when the deadly coronavirus raised its ugly head in the state.
The trend continued during the pandemic induced lockdown period--April (-88%) and May (-61%). A cursory look at the statistical records between January 1 to December 16, 2020 from ACB’s official website reveal a total of 627 cases ( including 437 traps) have been registered by the ACB as compared to 891 cases (including 866 traps) lodged in the corresponding period in 2019.
The number of persons caught in connection with trap cases has gone down to 814 from 1,120 last year. The tainted accused include 41 class I officers, 69 class II officials, 490 and 21 class III and IV staffers respectively. Apart from this 143 private mediators, were also booked in 2020. In 2019 the figure stood at 183. While just 13 offenders met with convictions after they were found guilty for committing the crime, prosecution sanction orders in several cases were still awaited.
Like an annual tradition, corrupt personnel from the revenue and police wings seemed engaged in a tough battle to clinch the top two slots. While the police topped the list with 147 traps, their counterparts in the revenue/ land records wing were not far behind with their indulgence in 146 caught in taking-bribe cases ranging from a few hundred to lakhs of rupees, totaling Rs 25.16 lakh and Rs 23.82 lakh respectively.
59 traps were reported against panchayat samithi members, followed by 23 related to municipal corporations, 16 zilla parishad, 18 staffers attached to the education wing, 23 from the forest and even 16 from the public health department amongst others who landed into the ACB last year.
Among the eight zonal divisions, Pune executed the highest number of traps (137) this year, followed by 97 and 89 by the Nashik and Aurangabad division respectively. While the Thane unit registered 44 cases, their Mumbai counterparts had to attend to just 24 complaints in 2020. This year four cases have been reported so far.