by: Shalini Narayan
After a Public Works Department engineer, who was caught by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while allegedly accepting a bribe, was acquitted by a local court, the Central Vigilance Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the matter.
The Central Vigilance Commission has written to the CBI, seeking a report of all such cases and acquittals over the past two years across the country, reportedly to keep a tab on the misuse of power, if any.
The CVC has also sought a report on whether any internal action was taken against the investigating officers in these cases, which went to court.
Sources said according to rules, there is a provision that if at all there are any acquittals in cases being investigated by the CBI, they have to be reviewed and if any negligence is found on the part of the investigating officer, action needs to be taken against him.
According to sources in the CVC, a PWD engineer was arrested by the CBI, which had laid a trap and caught him allegedly while he had been accepting a bribe. However, subsequent to trial, a local court acquitted him of charges of bribery levelled against him.
The court, sources said, noted how the CBI’s notes did not have any fingerprints of the engineer, considering the fact that he was “caught red-handed”.
The court also noted that the complaint was registered a day after the trap was laid. Sources said these were among the several loopholes that the court pointed out and reprimanded the investigating agency for.
Sources in the CVC said that they had taken cognisance of at least three similar cases, where persons were arrested and later acquitted due to lack of evidence. The CVC took suo motu cognisance of the matter and to probe whether there is any misuse of power, has written to the CBI, seeking a report of all cases of trapping across the country over the past two years.
The matter was also discussed with the CBI in a recent meeting at the CVC headquarters, whereby officials who represented the agency were asked to furnish all such details.
The investigating agency has been asked to furnish details of all cases of trapping, acquittals and the evidence they gave in court so that the CVC could review the grounds for arrest.
The agency has also been asked to give details on what action was taken against the investigating officers in all such cases, where there had been acquittals or if they had been found guilty of having framed a person.
“We need to probe if there was any misuse of power on the part of the investigating agency. The basic idea is to ascertain if the acquittals were due to lack of evidence or a procedural lapse,” a source said.